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Fauci: Christmas will be worse than Thanksgiving for COVID spread

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'I think it can be even more of a challenge than what we saw with Thanksgiving'

Noam Galai/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci is warning Americans that the Christmas holiday could be worse than Thanksgiving for spreading the coronavirus.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on CNN's "New Day" with host John Berman and issued a warning to America about the potential dangers of holiday celebrations.

"My concerns, John [Berman], are the same thing of the concerns that I had about Thanksgiving, only this may be even more compounded because it's a longer holiday," Fauci said.

He explained that because the Christmas holiday leads into New Year's Day celebrations, the potential for virus spread is greater than Thanksgiving, which lasts one day before people return to work.

"I think it can be even more of a challenge than what we saw with Thanksgiving," Fauci said. "So I hope that people realize that and understand that as difficult as this is, nobody wants to modify, if not essentially shut down, their holiday season."

"But we're at a very critical time in this country right now," he added. "We've got to not walk away from the facts and the data. This is tough going for all of us."

Fauci's advice comes amid a recent increase in positive coronavirus cases being reported. According to the COVID Tracking Project, as of Dec. 7 there were 14,717,065 identified cases of coronavirus in the United States. The previous Friday saw 228,000 new cases reported, the largest volume of positive cases reported in a single day since the pandemic began. Currently there are 102,148 people hospitalized with COVID, with 20,098 people currently in the ICU and 7,073 currently on a ventilator. Tragically, 274,745 Americans have died with confirmed or probable cases of COVID.

Progress toward the release and distribution of a COVID vaccine continues.

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration released documents containing the agency's analysis of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The documents show Pfizer's vaccine provides some protection after the first dose and full protection from the coronavirus after the second dose. The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will meet Thursday and vote on whether to grant Pfizer emergency use authorization to begin distributing the vaccine in the United States.

In the United Kingdom, a retired British shop clerk received the first shot of the nation's COVID-19 vaccination program after the nation last week authorized the use of Pfizer's vaccine. The UK is the first Western country to begin a mass vaccination program.

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