02:22 GMT24 January 2021
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    The US is currently under COVID-19 pandemic storm, with rising daily infection rates and deaths regularly breaking all-time highs. The number of infected since the start of the novel coronavirus outbreak has topped over 17 million, and federal healthcare authorities urge people to abandon their usual holiday travel routine.

    The top infectious disease expert in the US, Dr. Anthony Fauci, stated that he and his wife will not celebrate Christmas with his three adult daughters amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and urged Americans to follow his example, Fox News reported on Wednesday.

    Fauci made his recommendation in an interview with the Washington Post, adding that his family will not come together for his 80th birthday on Christmas Eve as well. One of the most prominent members of the Trump administration's White House Coronavirus Task Force, Fauci noted that this Christmas would be the first that he would spend without his three daughters since they were born.

    "I’m going to be with my wife – period," the media giant quoted Fauci. "The Christmas holiday is a special holiday for us because Christmas Eve is my birthday. And Christmas Day is Christmas Day. And they are not going to come home […] That’s painful. We don’t like that. But that’s just one of the things you’re going to have to accept as we go through this unprecedented challenging time".

    Fauci warned that Christmas cannot be "business as usual", as many Americans ignored health guidelines over Thanksgiving.

    "Stay at home as much as you can, keep your interactions to the extent possible to members of the same household," he said. "This cannot be business as usual this Christmas because we’re already in a very difficult situation, and we’re going to make it worse, if we don’t do something about it."

    Fauci stressed again that the pandemic is "an unusual situation" and is "not going to last forever", but asked fellow citizens to be strong.

    "It is highly likely that with vaccines being distributed, that we will be back to normal by next Christmas," Fauci suggested.

    Fauci's request caused emotional reactions on social media, including Twitter. Many tweeted dissent, sometimes harshly.

    ​Nevertheless, some Twitterians agreed with the reasoning of the nation's top infection specialist, and noted that they too would follow the national safety guidelines.

    ​According to data collated in real time by Johns Hopkins University, the coronavirus death toll in the US hit a new daily average record of 3,700 deaths on Wednesday, while the total number of dead has passed a frightening 307,000. The nation registered a record number of new cases in 24 hours, about 250,000 on Wednesday.

    The country is currently seeing rapidly rising numbers of new COVID-19 infections over the past month.

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