This "Innocent" Activity Can Get You COVID, Warns Dr. Fauci
"Innocent get togethers" of small, familiar groups can put you in real danger of catching COVID-19 right now, says Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert. "What we're seeing throughout the country is that innocent get-togethers of family and friends, in a home where people let their guard down because they're with people they're familiar with, we're starting to see those kinds of infections," said Fauci in a CNN interview Thursday night. For more of his warning, 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 Says This is Becoming an "Important Source of Infection"
Fauci detailed a typical scenario: "Eight, 10 people get together at a dinner with friends and family. One of them is infected, but with no symptoms, They put their guard down. You're sitting, you're eating, you're drinking, you take your mask off. And that's how we're starting to see infections."
"I get on the phone tonight and talk to all of my colleagues around the country—almost every one of them say that's becoming a very important source of infection, the innocent gathering," Fauci added.
Fauci advocated the development of an over-the-counter, at-home COVID-19 test that could help stem those kinds of infections. "If you had a test that you could do at home yourself, point-of-care, sensitive and specific, you can eliminate a lot of that," he said. The FDA recently approved a $50 at-home coronavirus test, but it requires a prescription.
COVID-19 cases are rising in all 50 states. In many areas, hospitals are nearing capacity. On Thursday, the CDC advised Americans to avoid Thanksgiving travel and to limit gatherings to people who live in the same household, meaning those who have lived primarily in the same house for at least 14 days.
Should You Attend a Group Thanksgiving This Year?
"Each and every family unit should do a risk-benefit determination about the holidays, about whether they want to have the traditional Thanksgiving meal," Fauci advised. "You take a look at your family and you say, do I have a person there who's an elderly person, a person with an underlying medical condition that might put them at an increased risk of a severe outcome? If they get infected, do I want to take that risk right now? Or do I want to say, maybe the prudent thing to do for now is to just pull back and just keep it within the family unit that you live with."
Fauci, who is 79, said his own family's Thanksgiving will look different this year. His three adult daughters, who live in far-flung cities, will not be visiting. "They don't want to take that trip here and endanger their dad," he said. "So we say, 'Well, we had a great Thanksgiving last year. We're looking forward to a great Thanksgiving next year.' But for now, my wife and I are going to have dinner. We're going to put the kids up on a Zoom, and we're going to chat with them for an hour-and-a-half while we eat our meal."
He added: "That's our decision. That doesn't mean everybody's got to make that decision, but everybody should at least think about the risk that you might be putting your loved ones under."
More Ways to Stay Healthy
As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.