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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Unearthing the Unthinkable Atrocities Israel endured from Hamas
SHURA ARMY BASE, Israel – It has been three harrowing weeks since a devastating and unexpected massacre unfolded across multiple Israeli army bases, civilian communities, and even a music festival by the Iranian backed terrorist organization, Hamas. The scars of this multi-pronged terrorist attack are deep, and Israel is grappling with the daunting task of identifying the fallen. The enormity of the challenge is not just in the scale of the attack but also in the sheer brutality unleashed by thousands of Palestinian terrorists.
The Shura Army Base, situated on the outskirts of the central Israeli city of Ramle, remains a grim testament to the horrors inflicted during this assault. According to reports from Fox News this week, the base has seen a continuous influx of deceased bodies and dismembered remains, arriving from the country’s southern regions in refrigerated trucks. Here, amidst the agonizing task of identification, army personnel, volunteers, and religious authorities have been confronted with atrocities that evoke chilling images reminiscent of the Holocaust.
In a somber interview, Col. Rabbi Haim Weisberg, head of the army’s rabbinic division, remarked on the stark brutality witnessed, drawing parallels to the darkest days of history: “During a war, each side tries to make a convincing argument that they are right, but these kinds of atrocities we have not seen since the days of the Nazis.”
The horrors perpetrated by the attackers are difficult to comprehend. Terrorists systematically went from house to house, leaving behind a trail of burnt families. Body bags filled with entire families, including grandparents, mothers, fathers, and innocent children, continue to arrive.
The task of identifying the fallen is overwhelming, even for the seasoned rabbis at the base, who typically deal with fallen soldiers during peacetime. “Here we have identified hundreds of bodies, and there are still many more waiting to be examined,” Weisberg lamented.
Moreover, reports stated that some of the bodies are so severely burned that conventional DNA testing is futile. In such cases, dental forensic teams are mobilized to painstakingly match victims with their dental records. Yet, even these methods are not always effective.
The toll of this horrific attack is staggering, with over 1,400 people confirmed dead and an additional 239 held captive in the Palestinian enclave. Furthermore, a hundred individuals remain missing. In the aftermath of the October 7 attack, IDF’s special forces have undertaken perilous missions within the Gaza Strip to recover the remains and body parts of the fallen.
Forensic archaeologists have been called in to devastated communities along the Gaza border to search for human remains. In one heart-wrenching discovery, a human jaw was found in a burnt-out safe room.
The families of the victims, clinging to hope that their loved ones might still be alive, are being confronted with the agonizing truth that their relatives are among the deceased. Rabbi Weisberg shared a particularly disturbing account of one badly charred body that turned out to be two victims – a mother and a baby bound together in a final, desperate embrace. Fox News reported that another victim was a pregnant woman, her stomach cruelly cut open, her unborn child torn out and beheaded. The umbilical cord remained attached, serving as a grim testament to the unparalleled cruelty.
In Rabbi Weisberg’s words, “When you think about evil, you realize it is beyond comprehension when you see what this terror organization did.” The grim task of identification unfolds within a large white tent at the Shura base, surrounded by rows of refrigerated containers. The air is heavy with the overwhelming stench of death.
Amidst this macabre environment, a team of female volunteers has been assigned the challenging role of cleaning the bodies of murdered women. This group is part of a unique military reserve, established over a decade ago, to handle the sensitive task of dealing with female combat soldiers who may fall in action.
Shari, one of the volunteers who remains anonymous due to military guidelines, revealed the somber details of their mission. Specially trained for a mass casualty event, they were called into action on October 7 and have since been working tirelessly. Shari conveyed the harrowing scenes they have borne witness to – women arriving still in their pajamas, their heads brutally disfigured, some booby-trapped with grenades.
“We saw evidence of rape,” Shari stated with a heavy heart. “Pelvises were broken, and it probably takes a lot to break a pelvis… and this was also among grandmothers down to small children. These are things we saw with our own eyes.”
As Israel grapples with the aftermath of this unprecedented and cruel attack, the nation is united in its resolve to honor and remember the victims while condemning the barbarity that has scarred their history.
Follow Alexander Carter on Twitter @AlexCarterDC for more!
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