WASHINGTON – The nation’s top infectious disease expert is warning that Labor Day weekend could play a major role when it comes to slowing COVID-19 ahead of the looming cool temperatures of fall.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday that the holiday weekend will determine the country’s chances at having a “running start” when it comes to containing the virus.

He added that he has a “great deal of faith in the American people” that they will follow CDC recommendations of masks, hand washing, social distancing and avoiding crowds.

Earlier in the pandemic, two other holiday weekends – Memorial Day and the Fourth of July – were tied to outbreaks in parts of the country.

Fauci addressed the upcoming weekend during a White House conference call with governors, according to the Associated Press.