Dr. Fauci, 79, said his three grown daughters, all of whom live in different parts of the country, have chosen to skip the family's Thanksgiving day so as not to put him and his wife in danger. He said people often mistakenly assume they are safe simply by inviting family members or trusted friends.
"Most people feel when they are around the house with friends that they almost unconsciously give up their vigilance," said Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases. "They don't realize they are from multiple cities and have spent time in airports. They come to a house where grandma and grandpa are, or someone with an underlying disease, and they innocently and accidentally bring an infection into a house. It's dangerous. You have to be careful. "
If you plan to invite outside guests, you should take as many precautions as possible. Here are additional suggestions to make your Thanksgiving day safer for everyone.
Assess the risks
First, answer a series of questions to help you identify the potential risks of your gathering. Do you have a vulnerable person at your family table? Are virus cases on the rise in your area? Do guests travel from hot spots? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then consider bringing these guests to your home.
Ask your guests to take precautions early on
If you've decided to invite additional guests, ask them to vigilantly reduce their contacts and potential hazards for at least one week, and preferably two weeks before Thanksgiving. If testing is available in your area, ask all guests to be tested a few days before the holiday and schedule so that they get the results before you get to your home.
"Anyone can try to reduce the number of contacts at least a week before and after the event," said Julia Marcus, infectious disease epidemiologist and associate professor in the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School. "Just trying your best to be more aware of the contacts you have before and after you collect can be a strategy for reducing risk."
Move dinner outside
If the weather permits, try to have some or all of your holiday celebration outdoors. Look into space heaters and fire pits to keep a porch or patio warm. Or, consider a partially open space like a screened porch or garage with the door open to reduce the risk.