When Santa Claus takes flight on Christmas Eve, he won’t carry COVID-19 or pass it along to children around the world.
“Santa is exempt from this because Santa, of all the good qualities, has a lot of good innate immunity,” Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said in an interview published Friday.
The reassuring announcement came just days before the U.S. was set to observe a Thanksgiving like no other. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday urged Americans to avoid traveling and not to spend the holiday with family members or friends from outside their household to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, Santa’s appearance at the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade ― traditionally seen as the kickoff to the Christmas season ― will look considerably different. For the first time in its 96-year history, the parade won’t travel its usual two-mile route and instead will take place as a mostly stationary, made-for-TV event with an estimated 75% reduction in participants.
Exactly what any of this entails for Christmas next month remains to be seen. But in his interview Friday, Fauci said anyone awaiting a visit from St. Nicholas shouldn’t worry.
“Santa is not going to be spreading any infections to anybody,” he said.
Fauci isn’t the only public figure to proclaim Santa safe from the coronavirus.
Last week, Italy’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, announced that Santa had “international self-certification” to depart from his North Pole workshop in spite of international COVID-19 restrictions.
“He can travel everywhere and distribute gifts to all children around the world. Without any limitation,” Conte wrote in Italian and English on Facebook in response to a message from a 5-year-old Italian boy named Tommaso. “He confirmed to me that he always uses a mask and maintains a correct distance to protect himself and everyone he meets.”