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Dr. Fauci Warns "Be Careful" Before Going Here Now

“When you have people who are not within the immediate household, you've got to be careful.”
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek
Virus mask woman travel wearing face protection in prevention for coronavirus at airport.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the nation's top infectious disease expert, has said he doesn't want to be "The Grinch" this holiday season. But he can't help but advise that you use extreme caution when visiting family during the week ahead. After all, America is having a 9/11's worth of deaths (and more) every day due to coronavirus. And family gatherings are fueling part of the spread. "Can I see my cousins over the holiday?" asked some children at a CNN/Sesame Street town hall that aired this weekend. "When will we be able to hug our families? We haven't been able to get our grandma's hugs since COVID started. Can we go see them at Christmas and give them a hundred hugs?" Read on to hear Fauci's answer, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

Dr. Fauci Said "You've Got to Be Careful" About Seeing Friends and Family

Dr. Fauci has recently advised against travelling, and against spending time with anyone you're not sheltering with—especially indoors, where you're likely to take your mask off. On Saturday, he answered the children with: "You know, it really depends. I think if you're in the immediate household and it's part of the household and it's not someone who's maybe coming in and traveling when you're in the household with your mother, your father, even your grandparents, yeah, you can give them hugs."

The danger is when outsiders who are not living with you come into your home. "We're concerned about close contact, particularly without masks. When you have people who are not within the immediate household, that's the reason why we say over the holidays, you can see friends and family, but you've got to be careful, particularly with the wearing of masks. You don't want people to feel, they can't hug the ones they loved. If you're with that person in the house every day, all the time, there's really not a problem. We're concerned about traveling. When people come from a far distance, they're in an airport or in the train station, and then you come into the house. You want to be careful about that. I know it's tough. You want to hug the ones you love, but you have to be careful."

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

Want to Hug Grandma Safely Again? Get Vaccinated, Says Fauci.

Elmo—yes, that Elmo—asked Fauci if the vaccine would hurt. "The vaccine shot is in the arm. It's a pinch, but the pinch lasts really a short time, literally in seconds," said Fauci. "And I'll bet you that after you get vaccinated, when vaccines become available for children, you're going to say, you know, it wasn't that bad at all. I'll guarantee." It's worth the brief pain because "it's to get rid of COVID-19 completely. And that's the reason why we want to get as many people as possible to get vaccinated. Because once you get the overwhelming majority of the people vaccinated, the level of the virus is going to go down and down and down, and then it's going to turn out to be no problem."

He brought it back to hugging grandma. "So you're going to be able to do all the things you've been asking me about. You're going to be able to hug. You're going to be able to kiss. You're going to be able to have fun with your family, but the only way we get there is if we get a broad acceptance of the vaccine, we hope that that's going to take place maybe over the next several months, because as vaccine starts to be given, as we get into the late spring and into the summer, we hope that if we can get back and chat with you, let's say maybe in the fall and Halloween and say, you know what, we're looking around. There's no more COVID-19. So we succeeded."

How to Survive This Pandemic Until We're All Vaccinated

As for yourself, until there's a vaccine for all, follow his fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—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.