As of today, the number of coronavirus cases have finally dropped to levels not seen since the fall of last year. While this is good news, it also came with the grim milestone of 500,000 deaths. Coupled with vaccine efforts, many would like to think that things are finally going back to normal. Not so fast, says Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“The best way to…prevent any serious consequences is to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as you possibly can,” said Dr. Fauci. “And to double down on the public health measures: masking, social distance, avoiding congregate settings, if you put that together with the vaccine, we can be able to confront this variant as it were and prevent it from taking over.” Read on to see what the places still aren’t safe even if you’re allowed to go there.
1. Don’t Travel
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, explained in this JAMA study that people who are thinking of traveling could end up spreading the COVID-19 variants that are currently spreading in the U.S. “I mean, if we learned one thing in this Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) from Minnesota, the experience with the B.1.1.7 variant, several of them came from California. Their only travel was from California. We really, really would advocate for not traveling right now.” Dr. Fauci also added that now is not the time to be traveling, even if you have been inoculated. You could still be carrying the virus in your nose, including the more transmissible variants, and spread it.
2. Don’t Eat at Restaurants
Dr. Fauci doesn’t eat at restaurants. He warns that dining inside of a restaurant puts you at higher risk of infection. He recommends ordering takeout. “When you have restaurants indoors in a situation where you have a high degree of infection in the community, you’re not wearing masks, that’s a problem,” Dr. Fauci explained in the following interview.
3. Don’t Go To Bars
“Avoid bars,” Fauci has said many times throughout the pandemic. One survey of epidemiologists found bars to be as dangerous as jails. “Bars have become notorious as sources of COVID spread. They are almost always indoors. People are there for prolonged periods of time, very close together, they’re unmasked because they’re drinking and talking. And that’s the sine qua non for spread of a respiratory virus,” said the Professor of Preventive Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University also supported this by saying: “I think a bar is the most unsafe place, and that’s after having worked at a lot of prisons and jails.”
4. Avoid Gatherings and Places With Crowds
“Avoid congregate settings,” Fauci has said countless times. And avoid gatherings as well. “A gathering refers to a planned or spontaneous event, indoors or outdoors, with a small number of people participating or a large number of people in attendance such as a community event or gathering, concert, festival, conference, parade, wedding, or sporting event,” says the CDC.
How to Stay Safe During This Pandemic
- Follow the recommended fundamentals to help end this pandemic. No matter where you are you should:
- Always wear a face mask in public that fits properly and is double layered;
- Don’t travel or take road trips;
- Practice social distancing. Avoid large crowds and don’t go indoors with people you don’t live with (especially in bars);
- Keep good hand hygiene;
- Get vaccinated when it becomes available to you.