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CDC offers more COVID advice, Fauci says 'too soon to tell' on safety of Christmas gatherings

In recent CDC guidance, the health agency recommends virtual gatherings again this year, and highlights the use of window fans for ventilation of indoor spaces.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has renewed its guidance this year ahead of the holiday season as the country continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic while the government works to urge more people to get vaccinated against the virus. 

Most of the guidance this year from the heath agency is similar to last year, with the CDC recommending that large gatherings be done via video conference if possible and urging people to gather outdoors whenever possible. 

The guidance is also similar to what it has been throughout the year, with the CDC urging people not to travel or gather without first being fully vaccinated. And for people traveling with kids under 12, who are not yet eligible for a vaccine, the agency offers even more specialized guidance that can be reviewed on their website

If in-person holiday gatherings happen, while it is recommended that they be moved outdoors, the CDC also recommends this year to consider using a window fan to increase ventilation inside. This will pull fresh air from the other windows as well. 

Credit: Gregory Lee - stock.adobe.com

On Sunday, the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CBS' "Face the Nation" that it is still "just too soon to tell" if holiday gatherings this year should still be limited again. Fauci could not assure people that health experts believe, so far, that gathering this year would be deemed safe. 

Fauci said Sunday, "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." 

In September CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said that Halloween trick-or-treating this year would be safe if kids and adults are gathered in smaller groups outdoors for the celebrations. 

Last year, health officials discouraged going full-on with Halloween festivities, citing concerns over social distancing, even outdoors. While vaccinations for those ages 5-11 are still in the works, with Pfizer planning to submit a request for an emergency use authorization as soon as the FDA allows, some promising news on COVID-19 rates has come out this week.