October 9, 2020 -- Dr. Anthony Fauci says his adult daughters will not be visiting him and his wife for Thanksgiving because they’re afraid of spreading the coronavirus to their parents. Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Fauci has three daughters who live in three different parts of the country and who they don’t see very often, he said during a webinar hosted by American University's Kennedy Political Union.
"We would love for them to come home for Thanksgiving,” said Fauci. But the daughters, aged 28 to 34, live in cities that don’t have low infection rates and they worry that traveling and visiting would endanger their parents’ health, he said.
"Dad, you know you're a young, vigorous guy," Fauci said his daughters told him. "But you're 79 years old."
His daughters encouraged him and his wife to have dinner together or with friends they see regularly who have tested negative. The daughters will send their love via Zoom.
"So we decided to make it a very, very closed family type of thing," Fauci said.
The Faucis are making difficult decisions about the holidays, like many American families. Thanksgiving and Christmas call for large groups coming together, usually indoors, which health experts say makes spreading the virus easier.
Vin Gupta, MD, a pulmonary critical care doctor and assistant professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington Medical Center, believes traveling for the holidays is risky.
He says respiratory viruses like COVID-19 like dry, cold climates and transmit more easily in them.
Gupta offers these tips for the holidays:
- Make sure you have no COVID-like symptoms for at least two weeks prior to travel.
- Get tested before you travel and, if possible, quarantine at a hotel for at least 48 hours before seeing your loved ones.
- Drive if possible.
- If you fly, travel during off-peak hours, wear a well-fitting mask (N95 if possible), social distance, and make sure the airline is keeping the middle seat open. Take wet wipes to wipe down the back of your seat and tray table, and make sure you have hand sanitizer.
- At the family gathering, cut down on close contact and talking without a mask -- particularly around elderly loved ones and people with underlying medical conditions.
Fauci said each family needs to make its own decision. "I'm not going to criticize people who do it differently," he added. "But look at the individual situation in your own family and make a decision that way."