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Dr. Fauci on voting in person: ‘It’s just as safe to go and get a cup of coffee in a Starbucks’

Dr. Anthony Fauci has some words of advice for Americans.

Fauci said that voting in person is just as safe as going to Starbucks, assuming other people are also wearing masks. “I think it’s just as safe to go and get a cup of coffee in a Starbucks in which everyone’s wearing a mask and doing the things they should be doing.” Schedule permitting, he said he may go to his local school in person to cast his vote in the presidential election on Nov. 3.

As of Thursday, COVID-19 had infected 38.6 million people worldwide, a number that mostly does not account for asymptomatic cases, and killed more than 1.09 million people. The U.S. still has the world’s highest number of cases (7.9 million), followed by India (7.3 million), Brazil (5.1 million) and Russia (1.3 million), according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and an expert in infectious diseases for the last four decades, also told CBS News on Wednesday evening that Dr. Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for White House Coronavirus Task Force, has been out in the field looking at the increase in COVID-19 cases in households.

Related:CDC says big Thanksgiving gatherings are a high-risk activity. Here’s how to safely visit family this holiday season

“She’s done an amazing job of traveling to different states trying to get a feel for what’s going on,” he told CBS News anchor Norah O’Donnell. Fauci said Birx told him: ”Household transmission now is assuming a greater element of the transmissibility. Don’t assume that because you’re in your own home with your own family that you’re not going to spread infection.”

Fauci said his three children have decided not to travel. “Thanksgiving is going to look very different this year,” he said. “I would love to have it with my children, but my children are in three separate states throughout the country and, in order for them to get here, they would all have to go to an airport and get on a plane. All three of them want very much to come home for Thanksgiving.”

“People should be very careful and prudent about social gatherings,” he added. “You may have to bite the bullet, and sacrifice social gatherings unless you’re pretty certain that the people you’re dealing with are not infected, or have very recently tested, or they’re living a lifestyle in which they don’t have any interaction with anybody except you and your family.”

Also see:New Yorkers don’t have much hope that the city will recover from COVID-19 anytime soon

AstraZeneca
AZN,
-1.20%
,
in combination with Oxford University; BioNTech SE
BNTX,
+4.05%

and partner Pfizer
PFE,
-0.84%

; Johnson & Johnson
JNJ,
-0.61%

; Merck & Co.
MERK,
-0.63%

; Moderna
MRNA,
-1.28%

; Sanofi
SAN,
-0.52%

and GlaxoSmithKline
GSK,
-3.30%

are among those currently working toward COVID-19 vaccines.

In May, a majority of Americans (55%) said they would get vaccinated if/when a vaccine becomes available, but that number has fallen to 32%, according to a Yahoo/YouGov poll conducted from Sept. 9 to Sept. 11. For the first time, more people said they won’t get vaccinated (33%) or are unsure if they’ll get vaccinated (34%) than those who reported they would receive the vaccine.

Speaking on CBS News, Fauci also expressed concern about people going indoors to socialize due to the colder weather, and said that 50,000 daily new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is “an unacceptably high level.” The doctor added, “In the fall you’re seeing people doing more things indoors. That’s always a bad situation to be in when you’re dealing with a respiratory infection.”

Dr. Fauci on voting in person: ‘It’s just as safe to go and get a cup of coffee in a Starbucks’



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