Dr. Fauci Made the ‘Painful’ Choice Not to See His Kids for Christmas This Year

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Like many people, Anthony Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made the difficult choice to skip traditional holiday gatherings this year. Dr. Fauci said the decision was painful, but also the right choice.

“I’m going to be with my wife—period,” Dr. Fauci told The Washington Post. “The Christmas holiday is a special holiday for us because Christmas Eve is my birthday. And Christmas Day is Christmas Day. And they are not going to come home. That’s painful.”

As upsetting as it may be to have to forgo our holiday traditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Fauci said “that’s just one of the things you’re going to have to accept as we go through this unprecedented, challenging time.”

Previously, Dr. Fauci warned that even small holiday gatherings this year could lead to a particularly “dark” January thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. And it’s not like we’re starting things off in a bright, happy place—more than 300,000 people have died due to the coronavirus this year, and daily case rates are still high following Thanksgiving.

“We have a big problem,” Dr. Fauci told the Post. “Look at the numbers—the numbers are really quite dramatic.”

Instead of having an in-person gathering this year, the CDC recommends opting for virtual celebrations. That might include baking, watching holiday movies, or eating dinner over video chat with friends and family. If you are seeing people outside of your household for the winter holidays, it’s important to take as many precautions as you can—especially if that involves traveling. That includes getting tested before and after you travel, holding events outside if possible, wearing masks, staying socially distanced, and washing your hands frequently.

If you’re trying to convince other family members that it’s not a good idea to get together this year, “You try to explain: You’re going to have many more Christmases ahead of you,” Dr. Fauci suggested. “You’ve enjoyed many more Christmases before. Maybe this is a time to just say, ‘This is an unusual situation, it’s not going to last forever, it is highly likely that with vaccines being distributed, that we will be back to normal by next Christmas.’ So make the choice and keep yourself and your family healthy so that you’ll have many more Christmases ahead of you. That’s the way I would try to reason with them.” (Dr. Fauci is focused on Christmas here, but this strategy can work no matter what you’re celebrating this winter.)

We’ve already had to sacrifice so much this year, so it’s understandable that having to skip normal holiday traditions would be particularly devastating. But it really is the safest thing to do—for you, your family, and your community.

Related:

  • Unsafe Holiday Gatherings Could Lead to a ‘Really Dark’ January, Dr. Fauci Says

  • COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects: Here’s What to Expect, According to the CDC

  • Here’s Exactly When to Get Tested for COVID-19 If You’re Traveling for the Holidays

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