COVID-19: U.S. holidays could lead to deadly winter 

More than 217,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the U.S. on Dec. 3, according to Johns Hopkins University, a new record for daily cases. Public health experts warn the numbers are going to keep climbing.

Although the U.S. is preparing for the first stages of vaccine distribution, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield said the next couple of months will "be the most difficult time in the public health history of this nation."

While some are expected to get immunized in the coming weeks, experts say a COVID-19 vaccine will not be widely available to the general public until around spring 2021. 

Dr. Redfield says 150,000 to 200,000 more COVID-19 deaths could happen by February.

Experts are advising people to stay home for the holidays and avoid gatherings. But many ignored advice from public health experts and traveled for Thanksgiving. 

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened more than one million travelers on four separate days during the holiday period, the Associated Press reports.

Traveling by car also surged on Thanksgiving compared to the rest of November. An AP analysis found vehicle travel on Thanksgiving Day was only about 5% less than Thanksgiving 2019. 

"I think January is going to be terrible because you’re going to have the Thanksgiving surge super-imposed upon the Christmas surge,”"said U.S. infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci in a Newsweek interview.

Medical journalist Dr. Alok Patel echoes Dr. Fauci's concerns. He says the U.S. needs a unified message and people must follow COVID-19 guidelines to help contain the virus. 

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