Fauci: Holiday Travel Likely to Fuel More Surges

Fauci says restrictions will likely need to remain in place as Christmas travel spreads virus and keeps pressure on overworked health care system.
Posted at 4:30 PM, Nov 29, 2020

Dr. Anthony Fauci says the U.S. could be looking at continuous coronavirus surges in the coming weeks because of continuing holiday travel. 

On Sunday, the nation's top infectious disease expert told ABC's "This Week" that with the increased travel... now for Christmas... he doesn't see any way the country will be able to relax restrictions designed to keep the case numbers down.

"When you have the kind of inflection that we have, it doesn’t all of a sudden turn around like that," Fauci said. "So clearly in the next few weeks, we’re going to have the same sort of thing. And perhaps even two or three weeks down the line, we may see a surge upon a surge. We don't want to frighten people, but that's just the reality. We said that these things would happen as we got into cold weather and as we began traveling and they've happened."

Fauci made similar comments on NBC's "Meet the Press," saying people traveling back after Thanksgiving can still help slow the spread by distancing and wearing masks. 

Air travel broke pandemic records during the week of Thanksgiving, and new COVID-19 cases topped 200,000 the day after it for the first time in the U.S. Hospitals and health care workers across the country are overwhelmed with the current surge, though a vaccine seems to be in reach.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is set to meet with the CDC this week to discuss the vaccine's rollout. Health care workers and others considered first priority are expected to get it before the end of December. Fauci remains hopeful.

“So if we can hang together as a country and do these kinds of things to blunt these surges until we get a substantial proportion of the population vaccinated, we can get through this," Fauci said. "There really is light at the end of the tunnel."