SHINEDOWN frontman Brent Smith has taken issue with Dr. Anthony Fauci "lying" to kids by saying Santa Claus will be able to travel on Christmas Eve despite the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Fauci, the country's top infectious-disease expert, said during a CNN "Sesame Street ABC's Of COVID-19 Town Hall" on Saturday that Santa is "good to go" this holiday season as he visited Santa himself to give him the COVID-19 vaccine. Children and Elmo asked Fauci how Santa Claus would be able to deliver presents amid the pandemic. "How did Santa get the vaccine, and is it safe for him to go into the house?" one child asked. "What if he can't go to anyone’s house or near his reindeer?" another asked. Fauci replied: "Well, I have to say I took care of that for you because I was worried you all would be upset. So what I did a little while ago, I took a trip up there to the North Pole. I went there and I vaccinated Santa Claus myself. I measured his level of immunity, and he is good to go. He can come down the chimney. He can leave the presents, he can leave, and you have nothing to worry about. Santa Claus is good to go." Last month, Fauci even reassured children that Santa is immune to the respiratory virus. "Santa is exempt from this because Santa, of all the good qualities, has a lot of good innate immunity," Fauci told USA Today. "Santa is not going to be spreading any infections to anybody." On Saturday, Smith shared a New York Post article about Fauci's latest comments and included the following message: "I'm going to go out on a limb here. Lying to society this far into a pandemic is not something I would encourage. #tellthetruth #clockisticking". The SHINEDOWN singer's reaction was met with pushback by most of his followers, many of whom believe it's perfectly fine to tell kids Santa Claus would be able to deliver presents amid the COVID-19 pandemic. "I dont see the problem," one person wrote. "I have two little kids both ask me not so long ago is it possible that Santa Claus is coming, i told both yes it is because he is a special man. So this is a good idea! Is not about vaccine, its about Santa is able to come let them believe in this!" Another person added: "This is the first thing anyone has done for our kids through this pandemic. I think it is absolutely amazing of Fauci! He helped us parents ease little minds that want Santa to be safe." A third person wrote: "Uhhhh... we're talking about Santa here, something that makes kids happy. And I don't think it's considered a lie when you're talking about imaginary people. Pick your battles, Brent. There's much worse going on." After reading the responses to his original message, Smith returned to Twitter a couple of hours later to write: "Hey everyone I hear you... I won't even yell back. Much love to all... Happy Holidays". Earlier in the month, American epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove, who is responsible for overseeing the management of the pandemic the World Health Organization (WHO), announced that Santa Claus is immune to the coronavirus and is able to safely distribute gifts on the night of December 24 to December 25 to all children who have behaved well. "I understand the concern about Santa Claus, because he is an elderly person" and is part of the risk group against the coronavirus, said Van Kerkhove, a mother of two children herself. She added that the children should "go to bed early on Christmas Eve and Santa Claus will travel the world to deliver his gifts." As of Saturday, there have been more than 17.5 million cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and at least 313, 740 people have died from the virus.

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