Although Thanksgiving hasn’t happened yet, Dr. Anthony Fauci appears to already be in the Christmas spirit.
The nation’s leading infectious diseases expert this week in an interview with USA TODAY joked that old Saint Nick, while he will be spreading the spirit of Christmas, won’t be spreading the coronavirus.
“Santa is exempt from this because Santa, of all the good qualities, has a lot of good innate immunity,” Fauci told USA TODAY.
According to the USA TODAY article, many children have been worried this year about Santa, especially when he visits billions of people on Christmas Eve. On top of that, Kris Kringle, being elderly and overweight, falls into a demographic that is particularly prone to the worst effects of COVID-19.
Fauci is telling kids to be rest assured that Santa won’t give them and their loved ones the virus, saying that “Santa is not going to be spreading any infections to anybody.”
As Adrianna Rodriguez and Grace Huack noted in their USA TODAY article, the Santa Clauses that people would see under normal circumstances at shopping malls and street corners have been social distancing this time around, instead taking to Zoom and the internet to spread the joy.
This isn’t the first time in history, however, that people were concerned that Father Christmas would get sick. According to USA TODAY, he has “gotten sick” from the flu before. More than a century ago during the last major pandemic, one newspaper, the St. Paul Daily News, wrote on December 6, 1918 that “SANTA CLAUS IS DOWN WITH THE FLU.”
Doctors and health experts have been urging everyone to get their annual flu shots to avoid a flu crisis while they are already trying to contain the growing spread of COVID-19 cases across the country. Additionally, health experts and many government officials have been urging people to reconsider big travel plans for the holiday season, with Fauci having said that people should “think twice” about traveling or holding big indoor gatherings in a Wednesday meeting with the USA TODAY editorial board.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.