'You may have to bite the bullet': Dr. Fauci cautions against large Thanksgiving gatherings

If you’re planning a large gathering for Thanksgiving this November, Dr. Anthony Fauci doesn’t believe that’s a good idea.

Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, told CBS Evening News that large gatherings with relatives who are older might put them at risk of spreading COVID-19.

But even beyond the vulnerable elderly, the United States is in the midst of another surge in coronavirus cases, that could be exacerbated by traditional holidays like Thanksgiving.

“You may have to bite the bullet and sacrifice that social gathering unless you're pretty certain that the people that you're dealing with are not infected," Fauci told the network.

Fauci and turkey

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says Americans should rethink how they celebrate Thanksgiving this fall.(Photos by Getty Images)

Fauci also pointed to air travel being another deterrent since passengers would risk possible infection while in close proximity to strangers.

Fauci’s age, 79, places him firmly into a vulnerable demographic for a more severe case of the disease. With his three children living in different states, he especially will be following his advice this Thanksgiving.

"My Thanksgiving is going to look very different this year," Fauci 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, get on a plane, travel with public transportation."

Fauci has spent much of 2020 advising the public to adhere to social distancing guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

RELATED: CDC's Thanksgiving guidelines say gatherings should be small, parades considered high-risk

Last month, the CDC advised Americans to limit Thanksgiving celebrations to the people who already live in their household.

The agency also encourages having a virtual dinner, rather than congregating in person.

Instead of participating in the traditional shopping on or after Thanksgiving dinner, the CDC wants the public to consider shopping online.

And in lieu of attending parades or sporting events, they encourage the public to watch them from home.

This story was reported from Atlanta.