Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021.AP Photo/Susan Walsh
Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNBC people who’ve received COVID-19 vaccinations “can still enjoy a social gathering” for the holidays.
He said vaccinated, boosted people “should feel reasonably comfortable” but “we may need to be more restrictive” if numbers worsen.
The WHO says Omicron cases are doubling in 1.5 to 3 days in areas with community transmission.
Dr. Anthony Fauci says it’s safe for vaccinated people to get together for the holidays despite the surge in COVID-19 cases from the Omicron coronavirus variant.
“If you are vaccinated, your family is vaccinated, you have friends who are vaccinated and hopefully also boosted, you can still enjoy a social gathering, generally in a home,” Fauci said in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Friday.
Fauci also spoke about holiday travel, saying he’d be comfortable with it. “I would have no problem getting on an airplane. I’m vaccinated. I’m boosted. I know we have to wear a mask on an airplane,” he said.
He noted that N95 masks are “the best” at keeping out aerosol and droplet particles but said a regular surgical mask and cloth mask work fine as well. He also cautioned that the situation is rapidly evolving.
“If the counts keep going up and the test positivity keeps going up, we may need to be more restrictive,” Fauci said. “But for right now, people who are vaccinated and boosted should feel reasonably comfortable.”
The World Health Organization said Saturday that cases of the Omicron variant are doubling every 1.5 to 3 days in areas with community transmission, according to Reuters. The agency added that 89 countries have now reported Omicron cases.
In the US, Omicron accounted for 2.9% of sequenced COVID-19 cases in the week ending December 11, according to data from the CDC. In the Department of Health and Human Services region that includes New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, Omicron was responsible for 13.1% of sequenced cases that same week. This is the highest proportion of omicron cases seen in any of the 10 designated regions.
Early data suggests Omicron may be more transmissible than other strains. However, it may produce milder cases, perhaps because of protection from vaccines.
As of December 17, more than 806,000 people have died of the coronavirus in the US, with nearly 50.8 million confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.
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