CNN "State of the Union" host Jake Tapper suggested during a Sunday interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci that Christmas is "probably not gonna be possible" this year as medical experts warn of COVID-19 spikes caused by widespread indoor holiday gatherings.
Case numbers for COVID-19 continue to rise in several states across the country, tampering the hopes of millions of Americans seeking to restore a sense of normality with the upcoming holidays.
Dr. Fauci, who serves as the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday that even with widespread distribution of a vaccine, the public "can’t abandon fundamental public health measures," specifically social distancing and mask-wearing.
"You can approach a degree of normality while still doing some fundamental health things that synergize with the vaccine to get us back to normal," Fauci said.
“I would recommend to people not to abandon all public health measures just because you’ve been vaccinated," Fauci said. "Because even though for the general population it might be 90 to 95 percent effective, you don’t necessarily know for you how effective it is.
“I can feel more relaxed in essentially not having the stringency that we have right now, but I think abandoning it completely would not be a good idea.”
Fauci told Yahoo News last month that people will have to make “their individual choice” when it comes to celebrating Thanksgiving and visiting family. At the time, he said that “hopefully by Christmas” the situation will be different.
“Each individual family needs to make the decision based upon the risk situation in your own family,” he explained.
His comments came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posted an update to its COVID-19-related Thanksgiving guidance. Overall, the agency said “staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others,” but if you “must” travel, to be aware of the risks involved.
The agency states a low-risk way to celebrate this year would be to have a small dinner with only the people who live in your household and preparing meals for higher-risk friends and family that can be delivered. It also suggests watching sports and parades from home rather than in person and having a virtual dinner.
Fox News’ Alexandria Hein contributed to this report.