Dr. Anthony Fauci is keeping his family's Christmas gathering extra small this year and is encouraging other Americans to do the same to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“I'm going to be with my wife — period,” Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease specialist, said in a recent interview with The Washington Post's Power Up.
In addition to Christmas, Fauci's birthday is Christmas Eve and this year he's turning 80. He says it'll be the first time since his kids were born that he won't be seeing them on Christmas.
"[My children] are not going to come home … That's painful," Fauci said. "We don't like that. But that's just one of the things you're going to have to accept as we go through this unprecedented challenging time.”
In the interview, Fauci expressed concern that Christmas celebrations could lead to even more virus spread than what was seen in the weeks following Thanksgiving.
"This cannot be business as usual this Christmas because we're already in a very difficult situation, and we're going to make it worse, if we don't do something about it,” Fauci said.
Christmas is coming just days after healthcare workers and those living and working in nursing homes receive the first doses of the coronavirus vaccine. Fauci recommends contextualizing the time for family and friends that still want to celebrate.
"This is an unusual situation, it's not going to last forever, it is highly likely that with vaccines being distributed, that we will be back to normal by next Christmas," Fauci explained.
For those set on seeing family, Fauci recommends getting a test before traveling and then quarantining at your destination for several days while separated from the people you are visiting. Before exiting quarantine, Fauci recommends getting another test.