With coronavirus cases already at record-breaking levels, the US may see an additional surge just before Christmas, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday.
“All things considered, we’re not in a good place,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Monday.
Too many people have traveled and gathered for Thanksgiving, he said.
“Because of the travel and people congregating for meals, et cetera, you don't see any difference for a day, two, three, five days,” he said. “You’ll see the difference two or three weeks from now, which would put it right at the time that people would be traveling for Christmas.”
Though a coronavirus vaccine is on the horizon, Fauci urged people not to let their guard down.
“We have it within our power to get ourselves through this until we ultimately get a vaccine,” Fauci said.
He emphasized the importance of adhering to five basic public health measures: wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding crowds, doing activities outdoors instead of indoors and washing hands.
Universal mask-wearing is particularly important, Fauci noted, because the virus is being spread by people who may not look sick.
“The infection in the community level now is driven by people who are without symptoms, because about 40 to 45% of the people who are infected have no symptoms,” he said. “We know that a substantial proportion of the people who get infected, get infected from someone who doesn't even know they're infected.”
Watch: Dr. Fauci sends message of encouragement: