Thanksgiving gatherings pose a high COVID risk, Dr. Fauci says

NEW YORK (WABC) -- There's a warning about Thanksgiving from the nation's top infectious disease doctor, Anthony Fauci.

He says the family gathering holiday poses a huge health risk, especially to people who are older or have underlying health problems.

Early Thursday, Dr. Fauci appeared on GMA to explain.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared on "Good Morning America" on Thursday.



He added that going into the colder months it's time to "double down" on the health measures in place so that the infection rate baseline can be as low as possible.

"Each family needs to calculate the risk-benefit of doing that, particularly when you have people coming in from out of town, who may have been on airplanes, who have been in airports to just come into the house," Dr. Fauci said. "If you have vulnerable people, elderly people, people with underlying conditions, you better consider whether you want to do that now or maybe just forestall it and say that in an unfortunate and unusual situation, I may not want to take the risk. Then it's up to the individuals and then the choices they make."

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy agreed with Dr. Fauci later Thursday and said that people should start to plan their holidays now. He said that they should not travel or invite out of state family to New Jersey.



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The governor urged people to not travel or plan to have others travel to them for the holiday.



CDC Director Robert Redfield released a statement to ABC following reports that he privately told governors the same thing on a call this week:

"As the weather cools and people spend more time indoors, small household gatherings could become an increasing threat. That's why it's critical for people to continue taking this pandemic seriously, and to continue embracing prevention diligently now and in the coming months - that means being smart about crowds, wearing a face mask, and practicing good handwashing. Several factors contribute to the risk of getting or spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 at a holiday celebration - including community levels of COVID-19; the location and duration of the gathering; and the locations and behaviors of attendees before the gathering. Gatherings with more people pose more risk than gatherings with fewer people."

Dr. Fauci also spoke about the controversy surrounding the Trump campaign's recent ad featuring him that he says he did not consent to. He added that he will not resign from his position.

On Wednesday, Dr. Fauci received a special award from the "Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health." This year their annual gala was a virtual event.

The organization raises funds that support health programs in Brooklyn, Dr. Fauci's birthplace.

Each year, the Institute honors organizations and individuals who have made significant contributions to health, education, medical research, community service, and philanthropy.

The annual SportsBall gala brings together some of the most influential leaders in sports, business, entertainment and medicine to raise funds that support critical health programs for the Brooklyn community.
"This is a particularly poignant year for us as we celebrate Arthur Ashe's legacy amid a pandemic that has claimed more than 215,000 lives," said SUNY Downstate President Dr. Wayne J. Riley. "As America's most respected infectious diseases expert, Dr. Fauci is the most important voice providing critical guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite his own underlying health risks, Dr. Mahoney served patients during the pandemic, ultimately losing his life in the battle. The Law Firm of Vladeck Raskin & Clark continues to fight for more equity and diversity in the workplace. We are proud to welcome these esteemed honorees into the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health family. We continue to be grateful for their work on behalf of others."

RELATED: Fauci says his words were taken out of context in new Trump campaign ad

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