Lifestyle Health Dr. Fauci Says It's 'Too Soon to Tell' How COVID Will Affect Americans' Christmas Plans Fauci also warned Americans of getting complacent indoors with colder weather approaching in an interview on Face the Nation By Abigail Adams Abigail Adams Instagram Twitter Digital News Writer, PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Published on October 3, 2021 05:28 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Face the Nation/Youtube Dr. Anthony Fauci says "it's just too soon to tell" if it will be safe to gather for Christmas. During an appearance on Sunday's episode of CBS' Face the Nation, the United States' leading infectious disease expert, 80, told host Margaret Brennan that the country should "focus like a laser" on lowering the number of COVID-19 cases as we approach the winter holidays. "We've just got to [be] concentrating on continuing to get those numbers down and not try to jump ahead by weeks or months and say what we're going to do at a particular time," he told Brennan, 41. Over 700,000 People in the U.S. Have Died From COVID, Death Toll Was 'Completely Avoidable' "And we can do it by people getting vaccinated and also in the situation where boosters are appropriate to get people boosted," Fauci added, "because we know that they can help greatly in diminishing infection and diminishing advanced disease, the kinds of data that are now accumulating in real-time." On Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended avoiding indoor gatherings and celebrating "virtually" or socially distanced outside. Should events be held indoors, the agency suggests using a window fan to enhance circulation and open windows and doors to "bring in fresh air" if possible. The CDC does not recommend that unvaccinated individuals travel, domestically or internationally. Everyone will be required to wear a mask on public transportation, vaccinated or not. The U.S. passed 700,000 deaths from the coronavirus on Friday as well, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, surpassing the country's death toll from the 1918 influenza pandemic, due in part to the Delta variant. 1 in 500 Americans Have Now Died of COVID-19 About 55.8% of the nation's population (185.2 million people) are currently fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, while 64.7% (214.9 million people) have received at least one shot, according to data from the CDC. Though numbers are "turning around" nationwide, Fauci warned of Americans getting complacent. The country, he told Brennan, must "keep pushing on the vaccination front" in order to avoid repeating the past. "Because if you look at the history of the different surges we've had, it's come up, start to come down and then all of a sudden, boom, come back up again," the expert explained. "As it's coming down, we have within our capability, we can make this happen. Namely go down to a very, very low level, with vaccination and with mitigation." FDA Recommends COVID Vaccine Booster Shots for Ages 65 and Up, but Not Younger People With the weather getting colder and the holidays approaching, more people will be apt to congregate indoors in the coming months. Even if you are vaccinated, Fauci said it still "makes sense to wear a mask and to avoid high-risk situations." As the CDC noted in their holiday recommendations, Fauci said ventilation "is going to be key." "What we should be doing is look at ventilation in indoor places," Fauci said on the program. "When you have something spread by aerosol, you absolutely want more ventilation, which is the reason why outdoors is always much safer than indoors." As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.