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5 Things You Should Never Do Now, Says Dr. Fauci

Your keys to staying healthy until you can get the COVID vaccine.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab

The COVID-19 vaccine is a "light at the end of the tunnel," but Americans still need to act to slow the spread of coronavirus this holiday season, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on CNN Tuesday. "Whenever I talk about being careful, someone will say, well, he wants to cancel Christmas," Fauci said. "I don't want to do that. I want people to be more careful." Otherwise, "we will have a surge that's superimposed upon the difficult situation we are in already." More than 3,000 Americans a day are currently dying of coronavirus. "And so it could be a very difficult January coming up." Here's what Dr. Fauci advises you do to stay safe—read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

1

Don't Forget That Mask—We Need Uniform Wearing of Them

Cashier working at the supermarket wearing a facemask while scanning products
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Fauci and other public health officials have said that Americans should plan to wear face coverings throughout much of 2021. The average American—someone who isn't elderly and doesn't have pre-existing conditions or a job that increases their chance of contracting COVID-19—probably won't be able to be vaccinated until the late spring or summer. In the meantime, masks have been found to prevent not just you spreading the disease to others, but to prevent you from getting it, too. 

2

Don't Have a Lot of Close Contacts

Elderly couple embracing in spring or summer park wearing medical mask to protect from coronavirus
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Nothing that coronavirus cases are spiking nationwide, Fauci has advised staying close to home this holiday season. "If people start congregating, when they get to their destination in larger crowds in indoor settings, I'm afraid that if in fact we see this happen, we will have a surge that's superimposed upon the difficult situation we are already," said Fauci. "It could be a very difficult January coming up if these things happen."

3

Don't Let Your Guard Down and Forget to Keep Your Distance

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The CDC advises staying home if you have signs of COVID-19, if you're awaiting results of  a COVID-19 test, or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. If that's not the case, the agency advises that you wear a mask and maintain a distance of at least six feet from people who don't live in your household.

4

Don't Enter Congregate Settings With a Lot of People, Particularly Indoors

Affectionate middle-aged couple relaxing on a sofa together at home laughing at something on a tablet computer, natural and spontaneous
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'I want them to limit traveling to the extent possible," said Fauci. "And when you congregate, try to do it with a limited number of people, preferably people in the same household or a few close people who are also being very careful. Avoid the 20, 25 people at a house, at a big setting."

5

Don't Slack on Washing Your Hands

Girl washing her hands under running water in a black washstand
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Frequent, careful hand hygiene continues to be effective at deterring the virus.

As for the holidays, "Enjoy it to the extent that you can, but it's not going to be the way a normal Christmas season is," said Fauci. "As we get into February, March, April, and into the summer, we will reach a point when we are really approaching normal. And as we do, we will be able to get back to some of the treasured types of sharing, customs, the things that we love, the things that we like to do with family. We will be able to get there. Right now, however, it's a difficult and very different situation. So we're just asking people to just be prudent and to be careful."

6

How to Survive This Pandemic

A family walking holding hands wearing face masks in the middle of pandemic
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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.