Dr. Fauci addresses data on small gatherings ahead of Thanksgiving

Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks to ABC News about those planning to travel, a possible surge and what is causing the latest spread.
6:48 | 11/25/20

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Transcript for Dr. Fauci addresses data on small gatherings ahead of Thanksgiving
We are joined by Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Fauci, thank you for joining us again this morning. We're approaching Thanksgiving with the highest death rate, highest caseloads, hospitalizations in months. What's your final message to the public as we head into this holiday? Well, the final message is to do what we've been saying for some time, to the extent possible keep gatherings, the indoor gatherings as small as you possibly can. We all know how difficult that is, because this is such a beautiful traditional holiday but by making that sacrifice, you're going to be preventing people from getting infected because we know for sure that people who are without symptoms innocently with no malintention at all goes to a party or a gathering and gets together indoors, you let your guard down and obviously have to take a mask off if you're eating or drinking. Try to avoid that as much as possible. The sacrifice now cld save lives and illness and make the future much brighter as we get through this because, George, we'll get through this. Vaccines are right on the horizon. If we can just hang in there a little longer and continue to do the simple mitigation things we're talking about all the time, the masks, the distancing, the avoiding crowds, particularly indoor. If we do those things we'll get through it. That's my final plea before the what we don't want to see is yet another surge superimposed upon the surge you just described which will realize 3, 3 1/2 weeks from now if we don't do these public health thing. What do you make of this report, "The New York Times" yesterday said early data suggests small indoor gatherings are not driving this current what do you make of that? Is it right? Yeah, I think what the confusion is, George, is that when you look at the surges, it is still dominated by larger gatherings, by people who are in indoor places, by bars where people congregate but when you account for that, there still is transmission among gatherings that appear to be relatively I mean, if you can go for a small gathering, that's not dominating things but when you subtract the ones really dominating, you see there is a risk when people do indoor things. Now, I don't mean two, three, four people in a room. We're talking about when people might have a modest size and let their guard down so you don't want people to think that that's the dominating feature of it. But it certainly can contribute to it and that's what we want to do. When you stay away from the bars and stay away from the big congregant settings there still is a danger if you bring people into the home who are not part of the immediate household. There is a risk there. We are also learning that the CDC is considering shortening the quarantine time for people exposed to someone who has a positive test. Does that make sense? Well, you know why it makes sense, George, because when you have the full extent of the quarantine time, it kes people reluctant to get tested because they don't want to say, well, I'm tested and now I have to stay out of work, I may lose money, I'm notng subsidized and I might even lose my job. So if you balance the two, shortening a bit to make it more reasonable for people to say, if I get tested and I'm positive, I'm not going to be out for a full two week, so it might be that the balance, the better part of this equation would be to encourage people more to get tested so that they're not out of whatever it is that they need to be, their job, their employment, their source of income. That's the real reason for it. One encouraging sign the easing of lockdowns in Europe. What does that telus? What the Europeans -- they usually are a couple of weeks ahead of us. Every phase of this, so what happens now that they start to plateau so they're pulling back down on their lockdowns, we will almost certainly and may already start seeing it for those areas, those states, those cities that are fully mitigating with the things that I just mentioned, you'll start to see a plateauing, hopefully to come down. The one thing we do not want is if we get a surge now, George, over Thanksgiving, we'll have that slow plateau and slope up again that we'll see in three weeks which is the reason why we're trying so hard to get the message for people to be careful over this Thanksgiving holiday. And, of course, likely to see the vaccine start to be distributed in December. Time in December but we're still seeing hesitancy about the vaccines, taking the vaccine even from health care workers. Does that concern you? Well, it concerns me greatly, George, and that's the reason why wet to continue to get that message out that the process by which the vaccines were made were a standard process that was rapid because of exquisite scientific advances and the investment of an extraordinary amount of money. It did not compromise safety and it did not compromise scientific integrity and the decision whether it works, I.e., efficacious and it's safe is going to be made by independent bodies of people who, in fact, have no allegiance to an administration or to a company. That's what the public needs to understand, that the process is transparent and it's independent and we just got to keep getting that message out, because it would really be terrible if we have, which we do, three now and maybe more highly efficacious vaccines and people don't take it because that will be the solution, George, a combination of public health measures and a safe and effective vaccine. We could crush this outbreak exactly the way we did years ago with smallpox, with polio and with measles, it is doable. The presidential transition is formally under way. Ou had any contact with the President-Elect? Not with the President-Elect personally but with his staff. I've been in contact with Ron klain, nothing substantive in the sense of plans but just touching base with me telling me that we're going to be talking about this very soon now that the transition is in process. Dr. Fauci, thank you for your time this morning. Hope you have a great thving and I know it's been a challenging year for you. I just want to thank you on behalf of everybody here at "Gma" for always being so accessible and giving your best guidance to the public. Thank you, George, and all the best to you and your family. You know, Dr. Fauci served every president since Ronald Reagan. I think we expect that to continue under president Biden.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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