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Dr. Anthony Fauci. Graeme Jennings – Pool/Getty Images

In a recent interview with USA Today, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that Americans should prepare themselves for a difficult holiday season.

Fauci said that the COVID-19 pandemic will likely show little improvement by Christmas or New Year’s Day.

“I don’t see it being any different during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays than during Thanksgiving,” Fauci said of the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus cases are expected to remain at elevated levels through February 2021.

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In a recent interview with USA Today, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that Americans should prepare themselves for a difficult holiday season, with the coronavirus pandemic likely showing little improvement by Christmas or New Year’s Day.

According to Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, coronavirus cases, which are currently surging across the US, are expected to remain at elevated levels through December, January, and February.

Related: Experts rank the risks of everyday activities for COVID-19

“If the surge takes a turn of continuing to go up and you have the sustained greater than 100,000 infections a day and 1,300 deaths per day and the count keeps going up and up … I don’t see it being any different during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays than during Thanksgiving,” Fauci said.

According to data from the Johns Hopkins University, the US now has over 13 million COVID-19 cases, only six days after the country passed 12 million confirmed cases. The US leads the world in the total number of coronavirus infections.

For weeks, Fauci has said that his holiday season would be much more muted this year, mostly spending time with his wife in their family home. In lieu of the Faucis hosting their three daughters, they would celebrate the holiday through Zoom, the video conferencing app.

“For my own family, I’m saying we had a really great Thanksgiving and Christmas last year,” Fauci said. “We’re looking forward to a really great Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2021. Let’s now make the best of the situation and show our love and affection for people by keeping them safe.”

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Earlier in November, Fauci said on CNN that an ordinary Christmas would be difficult to imagine for 2020, but said that a transition to “normality” would take some time.

“It’s not going to be a light switch,” Fauci said at the time. “We’re not going to turn it on and off … It’s going to be a gradual accrual of more normality as the weeks and the months go by, as we get well into 2021.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website also details several actions that individuals and families should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 during the holidays, reiterating that the pandemic “has been stressful and isolating for many people,” while encouraging Americans to get a flu vaccine and postpone travel plans this year.

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