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Fauci urges Americans to avoid gathering with family during the Christmas holiday

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Top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci announced that he will not be celebrating Christmas with his three adult children this year and encouraged other Americans to do the same.

In an interview with the Washington Post’s Power Up Newsletter on Monday, Fauci said, “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 and his family have been following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines to avoid gatherings during the holiday season.

Fauci has warned that Christmas celebrations could be more disastrous to the spread of the virus than Thanksgiving, when millions traveled to visit family for the holiday despite “stay-at-home” guidelines. Fauci reminded Americans that testing negative before travel or gathering “doesn’t mean you’re going to be negative tomorrow” and we cannot afford to “run away from the data.”

“Stay at home as much as you can, keep your interactions to the extent possible to members of the same household,” Fauci told the Post. “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 suggested to tell family members and friends, who may struggle to understand, “You try to explain: you’re going to have many more Christmases ahead of you. You’ve enjoyed many more Christmases before. Maybe this is a time to just say, ‘This is an unusual situation, it’s not going to last forever, it is highly likely that with vaccines being distributed, that we will be back to normal by next Christmas.'”

Distributions of the coronavirus vaccine began this week, with priority being given to vulnerable populations and health care workers. Experts have said that vaccines could be available for the general public between March and June 2021.

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Biden frees Venezuelan President Maduro’s drug dealing relatives in prisoner swap

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Joe Biden

President Biden freed two of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s relatives Saturday in exchange for seven jailed Americans. The two nephews of Maduro’s wife Cilia Flores, had been convicted in the United States for drug dealing and sentenced to 18 years in prison, according to the BBC.

According to the report, the swap was in exchange for five American oil executives. Those Americans were “exchanged for two of Mr Maduro’s wife’s nephews, who were serving 18-year sentences in the US on drug charges,” the officials told the BBC. Maduro’s nephews were convicted under the Trump administration and the Venezuelan government claims that they were “unjustly” jailed in the United States.

In a statement from the White House Saturday, Biden said the American’s were  “wrongfully detained.”  He said the American’s  would soon be reunited with their relatives, according to reports.

“Today, we celebrate that seven families will be whole once more. To all the families who are still suffering and separated from their loved ones who are wrongfully detained – know that we remain dedicated to securing their release,” the Biden statement added.

Meanwhile, 13 Republican members of Congress sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, requesting more information on “the intelligence report” that alleges Maduro is emptying his prisons and allowing them to head to the United States in the caravans that crossing the porous border.

The letter states that the report warns Border Patrol agents to be on the look-out for “violent criminals from Venezuela among the migrant caravans heading towards the U.S.-Mexico border.”

“It has been widely reported that the Venezuelan regime, under the control of Nicolás Maduro Moros, is deliberately releasing violent prisoners early, including inmates convicted of ‘murder, rape, and extortion,’ and pushing them to join caravans heading to the United States,” the letter states.

You can follow Sara A. Carter on Twitter @SaraCarterDC.

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