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You "Have" to Do This to Avoid COVID, Says Dr. Fauci

“We absolutely have to adhere to the public health measures that we're talking about all the time,” he says.
FACT CHECKED BY Checkmark Emilia Paluszek
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The pandemic is by any measure out of control, with more than 3,000 people dying from COVID-19 daily. "The vaccine is the bright spot," said Today Show host Savannah Guthrie this morning to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert. "Everything else honestly seems very, very dark." In California, she said, "they're ordering 5,000 extra body bags. Some hospitals are having to put patients in parking lots because they are reaching their capacity. It feels like you and I have been talking about this Armageddon moment for the healthcare system for months," she said to the doctor. "Are we there?" Read on to hear his warning, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

Dr. Fauci Says We Have to "Adhere" to the Public Health Measures

"You know, it's a tough situation, Savannah," Fauci answered. "I mean, we're sitting here talking about vaccines"—the Moderna vaccine will be approved any day now—"which is such a positive thing, but all of this is sort of bittersweet because at the same time, as we're moving ahead with what will ultimately be the answer and the final solution to this, we're living through very, very difficult times." 

The numbers are indeed staggering. "I mean, if you look at the number of new infections between two and 300,000, the other day, we had 3,565 deaths in one day. So we still are in a serious situation, which tells us that as we are proceeding with the rollout of the vaccine, we absolutely have to adhere to the public health measures that we're talking about all the time—the wearing of masks, the physical distancing, the avoiding crowds in congregate settings. We can't just say, 'Well, there's a vaccine on the horizon. So let's just forget about everything else.' We're in a difficult situation. So we've got to do both. We've got to proceed with the rollout of the vaccine, but we've got to make sure we stay with the public health measures."

RELATED: 7 Tips You Must Follow to Avoid COVID, Say Doctors

How to Stay Alive During the Pandemic—and the Holidays

To keep the deaths from rising, remember what Fauci has said in the past about Thanksgiving—it can apply to Christmas. Do your risk assessment. "It's an important family holiday. I mean, every family is different," he told host Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC. "If you have someone in the family, an elderly person or person with an underlying condition who, whatever that underlying condition may be—diabetes, obesity, hypertension, someone on chemotherapy for one reason or other, cancer, auto-immune disease—you really need to make a decision. Do I want to put that person at an increased risk by having people coming in from all parts of the country, usually in a crowded airport without necessarily knowing if they're infected, without having time to get tested or time to do quarantine? Make your own decision. What kind of risk are you willing to take?"  

As for yourself, follow his fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—don't visit family members on Christmas unless you're willing to possibly infect them, and others you pass by on the way there, and wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.