By Anica Padilla

(CBS4) – Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, warned of “a surge upon a surge” during a news conference with Gov. Jared Polis on Tuesday afternoon about the spread of COVID-19. Dr. Fauci said gatherings and social events between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day will lead to another increase in the number of cases.

(credit: CBS)

Fauci explained we usually see an increase in cases about two and a half to three weeks following an event or gathering — and there tend to be multiple social events throughout the holiday season. And Fauci noted that we were already seeing an increase.

“Instead of thinking in terms of the Thanksgiving holiday and then the Christmas holiday as two separate events, I think we’re going to be looking at 30, or more days of a period of time of precarious risk,” Fauci said.

“Even though we’re out of the Thanksgiving season, we are rapidly going to emerge into the season of people shopping, crowding, preparing, perhaps even the ill-advised office parties, if they can exist anymore. And then the Christmas holidays. And then, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.”

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, testifies during a US Senate Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to examine Covid-19, focusing on an update on the federal response in Washington, DC, on September 23, 2020. (Photo by Graeme JENNINGS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by GRAEME JENNINGS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Fauci said, nationwide, we are already in the midst of the biggest surge we’ve seen so far.

“We are really in a public health crisis right now,” Fauci warned. “We have seen, because a variety of circumstances, a surge that has really surpassed the others — where we have between 100,000 and 200,000 cases a day, between 1,000 and 2,000 deaths per day, and over 90,000 hospitalizations.”

He warned that our actions in the next month will have serious repercussions.

“So we have about a month or more of a situation where it is in our hands right now to see if we can mitigate it. And you mitigate it by the things that Gov. Polis has been telling us to do and that I have been reiterating over and over,” Fauci stated. “Uniform wearing of masks, physical distancing, avoiding crowds in congregate settings, particularly indoors… and wash your hands frequently.”

“Avoid the things that we know are pleasant and desirable, though they are dangerous now, like family and friends getting together,” Fauci urged.

Fauci is the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Tuesday’s news conference marked the first news conference for Gov. Polis since he himself tested positive for COVID over the weekend.

More than 1,800 people were in Colorado hospitals on Monday with confirmed coronavirus cases. With the number of COVID-19 cases on the rise across the state, celebrating the December holidays outside your household may be discouraged.

Anica Padilla