White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci has spoken out to offer a chilling coronavirus warning as we head into the Christmas season.

Fauci warned that despite the fact that vaccines are on the horizon, Americans won’t be able to celebrate the end of the COVID-19 pandemic until after the Christmas and new year holidays.

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“For my own family, I’m saying we had a really great Thanksgiving and Christmas last year. We’re looking forward to a really great Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2021,” Fauci told USA Today. “Let’s now make the best of the situation and show our love and affection for people by keeping them safe.”

“If the surge takes a turn of continuing to go up and you have the sustained greater than 100,000 infections a day and 1,300 deaths per day and the count keeps going up and up … I don’t see it being any different during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays than during Thanksgiving,” added Fauci, who is the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Fauci added that the cold weather does not help when it comes to Christmas gatherings.

“Given the cold weather and given the fact that these types of celebrations – as wonderful and beautiful and traditional as they are – are fundamentally indoor things with people who will be singing and laughing and eating and drinking … you’ve just got to be careful,” he said.

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Ali Mokdad, professor of health metrics sciences at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluations and chief strategy officer for population health at the University of Washington, also said that Americans need to be very careful over the holidays.

“We should prevent getting COVID-19 especially at this time when we’re about to get a vaccine rolling out,” Mokdad said. “We need to be extra careful these upcoming extra couple of weeks in order to avoid pain and suffering.”

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Jodie Guest, professor and vice chair of the department of epidemiology at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, explained that she feels we need even more restrictions going into the holidays.

“Everything we do has implications four to six weeks out,” she said. “These prevention measures will keep people alive for the holidays, but I don’t think they’re a license to go have Christmas and Hanukkah parties that way we have in previous years.”

Guest added that the United States needs to “make some huge course corrections,” including mandatory masking, social distancing and avoiding large gatherings.

Fauci concluded by saying that despite everything that has happened, Santa will still be able to deliver presents this year.

“Santa is exempt from this because Santa, of all the good qualities, has a lot of good innate immunity,” Fauci said. “So, Santa is not going to be spreading any infections to anybody.”