On Monday, Dr Fauci, 79, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and part of the White House coronavirus task force, appeared via video link during New York governor Andrew Cuomo's coronavirus briefing.
When the governor asked him for his thoughts on New York’s recent emergency rule that limits indoor gatherings to 10 people, Dr Fauci replied that “10 may even be a bit too much.”
He added that during the holiday period, “it's not only the number, it's the people who might be coming in from out of town.
“You want to make sure you don't have people who just got off a plane or a train. That's even more risky than the absolute number.”
Mr Cuomo has been criticised by some conservatives for implementing the rule, while multiple sheriffs have refused to enforce the measure, according to NPR.
Since the start of the pandemic, New York has recorded more than 718,000 coronavirus cases and at least 34,637 deaths. According to state officials, there are at least 4,602 people currently hospitalised from coronavirus in New York.
Daily coronavirus cases and deaths have dramatically risen across the US over the last month, and Dr Fauci warned on Monday that gatherings over the Christmas period could create another spike.
“You get indoors, you take your mask off because you're eating and drinking, and you don't realise that there may be somebody that you know that you love who is perfectly well with no symptoms and yet they got infected into the community,” the 79-year-old warned.
He said that he expects coronavirus cases to keep rising into January, as the US starts to feel the effects of gatherings over both Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“We could start to see things start to get really bad in the middle of January, not only for New York state but for any state or city,” Dr Fauci said.
He added that the middle of January could be “a really dark time for us.”
Dr Fauci reiterated the claims in a separate interview with CNN on Monday, in which he warned that the start of coronavirus vaccine distribution won’t stop the current surge in deaths.
The Food and Drug Administration will consider whether to provide an emergency use authorisation to a coronavirus vaccine developed by pharmaceutical company Pfizer on Thursday. The agency will do the same for a vaccine developed by Moderna a week later, according to Politico.
Dr Fauci urged Americans to continue practicing caution, and added: “We’ve got to not walk away from the facts and the data. This is tough going for all of us.”
According to Johns Hopkins University, there are now more than 14.9 million people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached 283,743.
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