This week, many Americans are grappling with how to alter Thanksgiving celebrations in order to stay safe during the Covid-19 pandemic, including Bill Gates. The Microsoft co-founder shared his Thanksgiving plans in an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria Sunday.
"We'll have less family members there than we normally would have," said Gates, who has been at home in Washington during the pandemic with his wife Melinda and their three children: Jennifer, 24; Rory, 21; and Phoebe, 18.
Gates said he's setting up "a video connection with a lot of the family members on Thanksgiving Day, but [will] not be with them to have turkey together," he said. (Gates has also been hosting virtual "visits with friends where we drink wine" throughout the pandemic, he said on his new podcast, "Bill Gates and Rashida Jones Ask Big Questions.")
This year, "it's not a time when enough people will be able to enjoy Thanksgiving quite the way that they'd like to," Gates said.
The Centers for Disease Control advised Americans not to travel during the holiday, in a briefing Thursday, and has stressed that even medium-sized gatherings with people outside of your household could drive up infections. Covid-19 cases in the U.S. are above 12.25 million, with the national seven-day average of daily new cases hitting 170,855 on Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Gates also emphasized the importance of wearing masks over the holidays, and cited projections that show increased mask wearing could save over 50,000 lives. Face masks prevent the spread of respiratory droplets from an infected person, as well as provide a degree of protection for the wearer.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert and a longtime friend of Gates', said that he is not spending Thanksgiving with his adult children, who live in different parts of the country, in an effort to prevent spread.
Fauci said families should analyze the risks and benefits of gathering before deciding.
"You don't want to call it all off, but you want to at least give you and your family the benefit of having considered what is the risk-benefit of doing that...," Fauci told NBC News' "Meet the Press" on Sunday. "You just need to consider it and make your own decision."