With health officials strongly advising against traveling to see loved ones for Thanksgiving next week, this year's holiday season is shaping up to be either lonely or dangerous.
But there's one glimmer of hope: COVID-19 won't stop Santa from visiting millions of homes.
"Santa is exempt from this because Santa, of all the good qualities, has a lot of good innate immunity," top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci told USA Today.
"Santa is not going to be spreading any infections to anybody," he added, despite Santa being at high risk due "his global travels, obesity issues and history of smoking," as the New York Post put it rather bluntly.
Christmas will look strikingly different this year. Santa stand-ins across the nation are taking video calls, protecting themselves behind plexiglass barriers at malls — or even choosing to appear in artificial intelligence form via AskSanta.com.
Despite Old Saint Nick's immunity, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston Peter Hotez told USA Today that Santa should still get his COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available.
"I hear the ventilation in Santa’s workshop is not the best, and opening windows in North Pole winters problematic," he told the news outlet. "The good news is that mask compliance there is pretty good, and the elves are committed to social distancing. Mrs. Claus has implemented a program of regular testing and the reindeers now lead contact tracing."
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