US President-elect Joe Biden has urged Americans not to travel during the Christmas and New Year holidays so as to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
The novel coronavirus has so far infected 13,921,374 people and claimed 273,799 lives in the US -- both the numbers highest in the world.
"You cannot be travelling during these holidays. As much as you want to," Biden told a group of workers and small business owners in Wilmington, Delaware.
"Christmas is going to be a lot harder," he said during the virtual roundtable.
"I don't want to scare anybody here, but understand the facts. We're likely to lose another 250,000 people dead between now and January...because people aren't paying attention," the Democratic leader said.
The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has warned that this winter may be the most difficult time in the US public health history. CDC Director Robert Redfield on Wednesday said the US could see another 200,000 coronavirus deaths in the next three months if people do not take heed of mitigation measures like mask-wearing and social distancing.
According to the COVID tracking project, the number of coronavirus patients in US hospitals have surpassed 100,000 for the first time.
Biden said Americans need to take precautions till the vaccination is done. "There's two things that are happening for real. One, help is on the way in terms of vaccines. But the vaccine is not the most important thing. It's the vaccination. It's one thing to pay and the government having people show up and get the vaccine that's delivered to the state capital or to hospitals, wherever it's gonna be delivered," he said.
Biden said vaccination is a really expensive proposition.
"We're talking about having to make sure over 340 million Americans and others have access to that vaccination...Once we have it, we will be able to get out and be able to change the way in which we no longer have to shut down like we did," he said.
Urging people to wear mask, Biden said, "I'm always wearing this mask. But let me tell you something, it matters. It's not about saving my life; it's about saving your life...When I have this mask on, it's less about me being safe. It's about me making sure that you are safe. It's a patriotic thing to do... You're helping other people. It's not you. It's other people. Other people."