By CBSBoston.com Staff

WASHINGTON (CBS) – The holiday season starts next month, but the pandemic isn’t over. So will it be safe for families to spend Christmas together this year?

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to President Biden, said Monday that it will be. That came a day after he said it was “too soon to tell” whether Americans should avoid gathering for Christmas.

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“The best way to assure that we’ll be in good shape as we get into the winter would be to get more and more people vaccinated,” Facui told CNN Monday. “That was misinterpreted as my saying we can’t spend Christmas with our families, which was absolutely not the case. I will be spending Christmas with my family, I encourage people, particularly the vaccinated people who are protected, to have a good normal Christmas with your family. But just the way all of the other disinformation goes around, you say something, talking about a landmark of a time and it gets misinterpreted that I’m saying you can’t spend family Christmas time, which is nonsense, you can.”

When asked in an interview about whether Americans should avoid larger family gatherings for Christmas on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” Sunday, Fauci said it’s “just too soon to tell.”

“We’ve just got to concentrate on continuing to get those numbers down and not try to jump ahead by weeks or months and say what we’re going to do at a particular time,” Fauci told CBS.

“Let’s focus like a laser on continuing to get those cases down. And we can do it by people getting vaccinated and also in the situation where boosters are appropriate to get people boosted because we know that they can help greatly in diminishing infection and diminishing advanced disease.”

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Fauci said 55 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated and 64 percent have had at least one dose.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its guidelines for holiday celebrations Friday, saying the safest way is to “celebrate is virtually, with people who live with you, or outside and at least 6 feet apart.”

For those celebrating in-person with people who aren’t from your home, masks and opening windows are both strongly suggested if there are a lot of people, even if you’re vaccinated.

The CDC is suggesting people who aren’t vaccinated stay home.

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Tufts Medical Center Epidemiologist Dr. Shira Doron told WBZ-TV she wishes the guidelines were more specific, but noted that “no one in the first week of October can possibly predict what the holiday season’s going to look like.”

CBSBoston.com Staff