Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee in Washington, D.C. on June 30, 2020. (Photo: Kevin Dietsch/AFP via Getty Images)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee in Washington, D.C. on June 30, 2020. (Photo: Kevin Dietsch/AFP via Getty Images)

As US Hospitalizations Hit New Record, Fauci Warns Pandemic Not Expected to Ease for Holidays

As travelers ignored warnings, Thanksgiving marked the 24th consecutive day of more than 100,000 new daily Covid-19 cases in the United States.

Jessica Corbett

After millions of people crowded into airports in recent days despite public health experts' warnings against traveling for Thanksgiving—the Thursday holiday that coincided with a record number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations in the United States—the nation's top infectious disease doctor expressed concerns that conditions could continue to worsen through the end of the year and beyond.

"If the surge takes a turn of continuing to go up and you have the sustained greater than 100,000 infections a day and 1,300 deaths per day and the count keeps going up and up... I don't see it being any different during the Christmas and New Year's holidays than during Thanksgiving,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told USA TODAY.

In his interview with the newspaper last week, published Friday, Fauci shared how his own family is handling the winter holiday season in the midst of a deadly pandemic:

Fauci said he's most likely scrapping Christmas plans this year as he did for Thanksgiving. Instead of receiving his three daughters this year, who live in different parts of the country, he opted to send his love over Zoom and enjoy a quiet dinner with his wife.

"For my own family, I'm saying we had a really great Thanksgiving and Christmas last year. We're looking forward to a really great Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2021," he said. "Let's now make the best of the situation and show our love and affection for people by keeping them safe."

Newsweek noted Friday that despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation against traveling around Thanksgiving, "nearly three million people passed through airport security checkpoints the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday before the long weekend, according to the Transportation Security Administration."

As of Friday afternoon, the U.S. death toll topped 264,000 and the nation had seen more than 12.9 million confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University's global tracker. Thanksgiving marked the country's 24th consecutive day of over 100,000 new daily cases in the United States, with 110,611 infections and 1,232 deaths.

Ali Mokdad, professor of health metrics sciences at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluations (IHME) and chief strategy officer for population health at the University of Washington, told USA TODAY only about a fourth of all Covid-19 cases are reported in the United States due to testing limitations and undetected infections.

"We should prevent getting Covid-19 especially at this time when we're about to get a vaccine rolling out," Mokdad told the newspaper, referencing recent promising results from multiple late-stage vaccine trials. "We need to be extra careful these upcoming extra couple of weeks in order to avoid pain and suffering."

The IHME currently projects more than 336,800 total deaths from Covid-19, over 2,500 daily deaths, and 441,254 daily infections—including those who aren't tested—for the United States alone by the end of the year. The institute also projects a rise in the demand for hospital beds, including in intensive care units, by December 31.

The Covid Tracking Project, a volunteer group launched by The Atlantic, reported that hospitalizations due to disease in the United States hit a record of 90,481 on Thursday, with 17,802 people in ICUs and 5,979 requiring ventilators. The Hill noted that the project "expects states to report fewer testing, case, and death statistics on Thanksgiving and the weekend after as people are focused on the holiday. The experts predict that the numbers will then 'catch up' in the following days."

The rest of the world is "watching with trepidation—and at times disbelief—as coronavirus cases surge across the United States, and masses of Americans are choosing to follow through with plans to visit family and friends for this week's Thanksgiving holiday anyway," according to the Washington Post, which cited experts and media reports from Australia and Cameroon to Germany and the United Kingdom.

"From Australia, this looks like a mindbogglingly dangerous chapter in the out-of-control American Covid-19 story," Ian Mackay, an associate professor of virology at the University of Queensland, told the Post in an email. "Sadly, for some, this will be a Thanksgiving that is remembered for all the wrong reasons."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Peru's Leftist President Calls for Global Agreement to End Vaccine Apartheid

Peruvian President Pedro Castillo is pushing for an international accord to "guarantee universal access to vaccines for all people on the planet, with no discrimination on the basis of privilege."

Jake Johnson ·


'This Cannot Happen': Biden DHS Seeks Contractor for Migrant Detention Center at Guantánamo Bay

The solicitation for bids—which requires some guards who speak Spanish and Haitian Creole—comes as the administration is under fire for mass deportations of migrants, including thousands of Haitians.

Jessica Corbett ·


Global Vaccine Goals 'Fall Terribly Short' Due to Big Pharma and Rich Nations' Greed: Experts

"Wealthy nations are using up the world's vaccine supply, and developing nations are suffering and losing thousands of people every day."

Brett Wilkins ·


11 Senators Support House Progressives' Push to Pass Full Biden Agenda

"We voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill with the clear commitment that the two pieces of the package would move together along a dual track."

Jessica Corbett ·


Ex-Prisoners Recall US Torture at 'Afghanistan's Abu Ghraib'

"It is psychologically hard for me to recall all that was happening," said one former Bagram Air Base inmate. "The torture was mostly done by Afghans, sometimes the Americans. But the orders came from the U.S."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo