Fauci was asked during a CBS News interview about whether Americans can gather for Christmas, and he replied that it’s “too soon to tell.”
“We have to concentrate on continuing to get those numbers down and not try to jump ahead by weeks or months and say what we’re going to do at a particular time,” he said. “Let’s focus like a laser on continuing to get those cases down. And we can do it by people getting vaccinated. Also, in the situation where boosters are appropriate to get people boosted because we know they can help greatly in diminishing infection and diminishing advanced disease.”
Fauci has been criticized for his dire pandemic predictions—namely claiming that COVID-19 cases will spike during holiday gatherings—during media interviews throughout the pandemic. Ahead of Christmas 2020, Fauci suggested that the United States would have to keep stay-at-home and social distancing orders intact due to a holiday COVID-19 wave. Before that, Fauci claimed that family gatherings during Thanksgiving 2020 would put others at risk.
According to recent data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 cases have dropped by about 20 percent between Sept. 21 and Sept. 28.
A recent survey from The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that Americans aged 50 and older have reported feeling socially isolated at least sometimes, while one in four have said that their relationships and social lives have worsened over the past year.
“Visiting with friends and family in person, doing volunteer work, attending religious services, and talking with neighbors have declined,” the survey reads.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who led the Food and Drug Administration from 2017 to 2019 and now sits on Pfizer’s board, told CNN on Sept. 27 that the Delta variant could be the last major surge of COVID-19 infection in the United States. Some experts had publicly feared that the so-called Mu variant could take hold in the United States, but recent data from Outbreak.info suggests that there have been no reported cases of the strain over the past seven days.
“We’re going to start to transition from the pandemic phase of this virus, at least here in the U.S., to a more endemic phase where the coronavirus becomes a persistent threat,” Gottlieb said. “But you’re not seeing levels of infection quite the same way that you’ve seen them in the past year and a half.”
Citing recent data showing a decline in cases, Gottlieb said that by Thanksgiving, COVID-19 cases will decline “to a level that feels more manageable.”
After his comments about Christmas on Oct. 3, Fauci received criticism from several media pundits on Twitter, where his name was included in the trending section for several hours.