The United States' top infectious disease specialist, Dr Anthony Fauci, says the coming holiday season may be more dangerous than Thanksgiving in terms of the pandemic.
"I think it can be even more of a challenge than what we saw with Thanksgiving," Dr Fauci told CNN.
Public health officials say that the full extent of coronavirus infections over the Thanksgiving holiday is not yet known.
The Centres for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) warned Americans against travelling for Thanksgiving, yet millions made their way to family gatherings for the holiday. The CDC issued the same guidance for people celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and the New Year.
“I hope that people realise that and understand that as difficult as this is, nobody wants to modify – if not essentially shut down – their holiday season, but we are in a very critical time in this country right now," Dr Fauci said.
The US is nearing an average of 200,000 new recorded cases each day and is maintaining a record high of 100,000 patients in hospital. Daily deaths from Covid-19 are now above 2,000.
“We’ve got to not walk away from the facts and the data. This is tough going for all of us,” he said.
Dr Fauci will celebrate Christmas with his wife at home, while his three children will remain in their home cities. According to Dr Fauci, they plan to unite for a Zoom party on Christmas Eve, which is also the doctor's 80th birthday, according to Business Insider.