Dr. Anthony Fauci told NBC News on Wednesday that he is concerned that the United States could see a spike in coronavirus cases if Americans aren’t cautious for the upcoming holiday weekend.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that there were a number of cases tied to the Memorial Day and Fourth of July holidays.
While coronavirus cases generally declined in the US in the weeks following Memorial Day, there was a sizeable surge in cases in the weeks following the Fourth of July.
"Wear a mask, keep social distancing, avoid crowds," Fauci told NBC News about the upcoming weekend. "You can avoid those kind of surges. You don't want to be someone who's propagating the outbreak. You want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem."
Holiday gatherings have been a concern for some public health experts amid the pandemic. While Labor Day is the last major warm-weather holiday of the year, concerns following Labor Day will begin to shift to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.
Dr. Christopher Murray, the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, said he is opting not to see extended relatives amid the pandemic. And looking forward to the holiday season, Murray does not plan on seeing extended relatives then, either.
“Personally, in our family, we will not have our family get together,” Murray said. “I am particularly cautious. That would be our strategy."
But Fauci is hopeful that by the end of the year, some Americans will begin getting coronavirus vaccinations.
"I believe that by the time we get to the end of this calendar year, that we will feel comfortable that we do have a safe and effective vaccine," he told NBC News.