Reversing course once again, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, claimed his previous remarks on holiday gatherings were "misinterpreted" and "taken completely out of context," and he is now encouraging Americans to have a "good, normal Christmas."
"The best way to assure that we'll be in good shape as we get into the winter would be to get more and more people vaccinated," the Biden administration's top infectious disease expert told CNN on Monday.
"That was misinterpreted as my saying we can't spend Christmas with our families, which was absolutely not the case. I will be spending Christmas with my family. I encourage people, particularly the vaccinated people who are protected, to have a good, normal Christmas with your family," Fauci continued.
Fauci walked back his prior comments made Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation" about it being "too soon to tell" whether it is safe for families to gather for Christmas and if gatherings will be advised during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Asked by CBS News host Margaret Brennan if "we can gather for Christmas," Fauci replied, "You know, Margaret, it's just too soon to tell."
"We've just got to [concentrate] on continuing to get those numbers down and not try to jump ahead by weeks or months and say what we're going to do at a particular time," Fauci said on-air over the weekend.
Fauci claimed on Monday that he was referring to uncertainty around what the overall state of the pandemic would look like in December, not uncertainty about whether gathering with family would be safe for American households.
Brennan has asked Fauci: "We're going into cold weather. We're going into the holidays. Do people need to start looking around and saying it's just too risky to gather with family members if there are unvaccinated children?"
Fauci elucidated on Monday that there is still uncertainty surrounding the holistic state of the pandemic going forward, but getting more Americans vaccinated against COVID-19 can help maintain the current downward trend in cases.
"That's really dependent on us. It's difficult to predict. The one thing we do have within our power to do is to make sure that there are less and less cases and that diminishing slope that's going down continues to go down," Fauci said on CNN. "And the way we can do that is by getting more and more people vaccinated."
Fauci maintained that was the point he was making: "Not that you're not going to be able to spend Christmas with your family. I certainly am. That's for sure."
"But it's just the way all of the other disinformation goes around," Fauci said. "You say something talking about a landmark of a time and it gets misinterpreted that I'm saying you can't spend family Christmas time, which is nonsense."