WASHINGTON -- The United States' top infectious diseases expert says he’s worried that crowding at U.S. airports from Thanksgiving travel could lead to a perilous situation as COVID-19 cases surge.
Dr. Anthony Fauci told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the “people at airports” despite federal guidance to avoid travel “are going to get us into even more trouble than we’re in right now.”
He noted that new COVID-19 cases from Thanksgiving won’t become evident till weeks later, making it “very difficult” as the virus spirals out of control heading into colder weather and the December holiday season.
Fauci said a substantial portion of people being hospitalized for the virus are now between the ages of 40 and 59, as well as the elderly and vulnerable.
He stressed that vaccines should become available in the coming months, but said Americans will need to “hang in there” in the meantime by taking precautions to stem the spread. That includes limiting holiday gatherings to people in the same household if possible, wearing masks, socially distancing and washing hands.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid non-essential travel.