By Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As the holiday week begins, there is warning from the nation’s top infectious disease expert on why this Thanksgiving will be unlike any other.

Dr. Anthony Fauci spoke on “Face the Nation” Sunday, making a plea to people resisting restrictions to curb the surge in COVID-19 cases.

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“Just look at the numbers, look at the facts. They’re staring us right in the face,” Fauci said.

Eighty-three-thousand people are currently hospitalized in the United States for COVID-19. Some parts of Minnesota have had ICU bed capacity in the single digits. State health officials are asking Minnesotans to only celebrate Thanksgiving within their own household.

Minneapolis resident Liz Krueger is 38-weeks pregnant.

“Normally on Thanksgiving we would probably have like two Thanksgivings between my husband’s family and mine,” Krueger said. “We’re going to be doing takeout and just being cozy. The house is already decorated for Christmas, so it’ll be a mix of holidays [laughs].”

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Blaine resident Mataya Carson is in her 20s. She had to cancel Thanksgiving plans after both she and her husband tested positive for COVID. She thinks she got it at her gym, which she joined three weeks ago.

“We did take our guard down and we are now nine days into this, and my husband and I are both [are] still just exhausted,” Carson said.

Dr. George Morris from CentraCare-St. Cloud Hospital says the next two to four weeks are critical in helping our hospitals from being overwhelmed. They are already preparing for potential crisis levels.

“We will have to have hard conversations with families and with patients about, ‘This is what we can do for you, and this is what we can’t,’” Morris said.

Still, Dr. Morris says buckling down on mitigation efforts will help, even at a time of year when gathering is typically tradition.

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“It’s these spikes that are the problem,” Morris said. “If we can instead … flatten the curve, spread it out a longer period of time, we can manage.”

Kate Raddatz