US health officials are warning of a second surge of Covid-19 over the holidays, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, who does acknowledge that he wants to see schools closed due to the pandemic.

Health officials painted a fairly bleak picture of the pandemic while making the Sunday talk show rounds. All agreed a surge of cases should likely be expected due to the increased traveling and mixing of households over the holidays.

Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Brett Giroir told CNN “this is a really dangerous time” for the US, noting that 20 percent of all people in hospitals are already Covid-positive and warning that number could be rising fairly soon.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams said the pandemic is “going to get worse over the next several weeks” in a Fox News interview, though he assured people a vaccine is “mere weeks away” for the most vulnerable. 

Fauci, arguably the most talked-about figure on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, also predicted a vaccine will be available before the end of the year, but he noted we “may see a surge upon a surge” of Covid-19 cases.

“We don’t want to frighten people, but that’s just the reality,” he told ABC.

NEW: “We may see a surge upon a surge. We don’t want to frighten people but that’s just the reality,” Dr. Anthony Fauci tells @MarthaRaddatz, adding that he doesn’t expect a relaxation of restrictions or travel advisories for the Christmas season.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as many state officials, recommended people not travel for Thanksgiving or other end-of-the-year holidays, but the Transportation Security Administration noted it screened over eight million people from November 20-28.

Fauci, who has been criticized as too extreme in his support of lockdowns by both President Donald Trump and more conservative critics, did note, however, that he would like to see schools – which have been closed in cities like New York – opened again.

“Not being facetiously, as a sound bite or anything, but, you know, close the bars and keep the schools open is what we really say,” Fauci said when asked for his recommendation on opening schools. “Obviously, you don’t have one size fits all. But as I said in the past… the default position should be to try as best as possible within reason to keep the children in school, or to get them back to school.”

He noted that the spread among and from children “is not really big at all.”

“If you mitigate the things that you know are causing spread in a very, very profound way, in a robust way, if you bring that down, you will then indirectly and ultimately protect the children in the school, because the community level is determined by how things go across the board,” he added. 

“Close the bars and keep the schools open,” Dr. Anthony Fauci says, adding that while there is no solution that is “one size fits all,” the “best way to ensure the safety of the children in school is to get the community level of the spread low.”

On a vaccine, which many critics have feared could become mandatory, Fauci said that while the government cannot force “any individual group” to take it, many businesses and institutions could require proof, essentially forcing people to get vaccinated.

He also said the government should be working with communities to dispel any distrust in the vaccine.

“We’ve got to be able to get out there, get community people, who the community trusts, to show two things,” he said. “The process of the development of this vaccine has been one that has been scientifically sound, safety has not been compromised, scientific integrity has not been compromised. And the process of determining whether it works, whether it’s safe and effective has been independent, by independent bodies and transparent.”

There have currently been over 266,000 deaths from Covid-19 in the US, as well as over 13 million positive cases. 

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