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Dr. Fauci Warns This One Mistake "Puts You at Higher Risk" for COVID

"Keep the gatherings, even family, friends, to as small a gathering as possible," he says.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab
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As experts predicted in the late summer and early fall, the COVID-19 pandemic has spiraled out of control. Infections, hospitalizations, and deaths are breaking records nationally and regionally daily, with 200,000 to 300,000 infections added to the tally every day in the United States alone. While the arrival of a vaccine is promising, things are likely going to get worse before they get better. However, in a new interview with Meg Tirrell for a special edition Healthy Returns, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's go-to infectious disease expert, pinpointed three risky behaviors that can put you at a higher risk of contracting—or spreading—COVID-19. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

Dr. Fauci Warned Against Gatherings—Especially Around the Holidays

"Not to frighten people but it's the truth that you can see what I have referred to as a surge upon a surge," Fauci explained, referring to the infection of the infection curve, rising over the last few weeks "as we got into the colder weather, people stayed indoors, they congregated indoors sometimes without masks." 

"When I say a surge upon a surge, I mean, instead of leveling off and coming down, it actually continues to go up. And that's one of the things that we put ourselves in somewhat of a precarious situation," he continued. 

He also pointed to the Thanksgiving holidays, when people upped their risk factor by hosting gatherings of family and friends despite the warnings of health officials. "Right now, we are probably seeing in some sections of the country, the brunt of the effect of the travel and the congregating for Thanksgiving. That's going to get now superimposed upon the additional travel that will very soon begin over the weekend and beyond the travel for Christmas and the same sort of congregating that one does for Christmas," he said. "Those are things that we all love to do. It's part of our tradition. It's part of things that we enjoy so much with family and friends. but we really, really have to realize that that puts us in a precarious, risky situation."

He then revealed that the only way to help the curve flatten is by taking personal action. "If we don't take a look at the situation and say, 'You know, we really need to pull back a little bit and maybe not do the things that otherwise at this part of the season of the year would be considered normal," he explained. 

Those three main things he suggests doing "to a lesser extent" include "less travel, less congregating, less social interaction." 

"To the extent possible, we encourage people to curtail the travel that you would normally do under normal circumstances," he urged. "Keep the gatherings, even family, friends, to as small a gathering as possible, preferably with people that you're very familiar with that maybe are in the same household who have created their own bubble of safety, so that it is very unlikely that they would be infected."

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How to Survive the Pandemic

Fauci admits it is easier said than done. "We all know how difficult that is because we've been under this situation of COVID fatigue as we call it. Everyone is fatigued about this. We've been going through this now for almost a year, but now's not the time to say, 'You know, I'm just so tired of all of this. I'm just gonna do whatever I want to do.' That would only make matters worse."

No matter who you are: stay put and hang with only the people you shelter with, wear a face-covering, only leave the home if it's essential, wash your hands frequently, practice social distancing, monitor your health and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.