Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, effectively called for Thanksgiving to be canceled during an appearance on CBS News on Wednesday.
Doctor’s orders: Speaking on “CBS Evening News,” Fauci urged Americans to “sacrifice” their Thanksgiving plans and traditions to avoid spreading the coronavirus.
- Fauci acknowledged family gatherings on Thanksgiving are a “sacred part of American tradition.”
- But given rising infection rates, he said, “you may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering.”
The Thanksgiving directives from Fauci — the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force — echoed those issued earlier in the day by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Really?: According to Fauci, the only potentially permissible Thanksgiving dinner guests are people who have “been very recently tested” for the coronavirus or who “don’t have interaction with anybody except you and your family.”
- Even among immediate family, he proscribed holiday get-togethers that would require guests to fly or use other public transport.
- More than 55 million people traveled for Thanksgiving last year, AAA estimated.
By Fauci’s standards, relatively few Americans would qualify to attend a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
- Most Americans are still going into work and many say they’re socializing on a weekly basis, polls have shown.
- Meanwhile, just over over 6,000 people received coronavirus tests in the past seven days.
- President Donald Trump had been a leading skeptic of Fauci’s admonitions about “social distancing,” once declaring him “Wrong!” about the utility of lockdowns.
Thanksgiving, though, has survived worse times.
- The holiday has been observed annually in the United States since 1863, when then-President Abraham Lincoln set the date amid the Civil War.
- “I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States … to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” Lincoln proclaimed.