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Dr. Fauci Warns America About Outbreaks This Labor Day

Five simple rules to protect yourself against coronavirus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious-disease expert, said the nation's number of coronavirus cases remained "unacceptably high" and urged Americans to follow a few best practices to prevent a surge of the disease after this Labor Day weekend.

"We're right around 40,000 new cases [a day]. That's an unacceptably high baseline," Fauci told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell on Wednesday. "We've got to get it down. I'd like to see it at 10,000 or less, hopefully less."

That may be a lofty goal, considering that the three-day Labor Day weekend is days away, and many Americans may be tempted to attend large gatherings, one of the primary vectors of disease transmission. "We know from prior experience that when you get into holiday weekends, the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, there's a tendency of people to be careless somewhat with regard to the public health measures that we keep recommending over and over again," said Fauci.

That doesn't mean you need to sequester yourself indoors. "You can have an enjoyable weekend, but you can do a couple of fundamental things that we talk about all the time," said Fauci. "Those types of simple things can clearly prevent the types of surges that we have seen following holiday weekends." Here's what Fauci reccommends, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.


Avoid Large Gatherings

Woman standing and cheering at a baseball game

Fauci has said that "congregating in bars, congregating in crowds, people getting together in a celebratory way without wearing masks" have been the primary driver of the nation's coronavirus surge this summer. 

"We're going to continue to be in a lot of trouble, and there's going to be a lot of hurt if that does not stop," he said. 


Practice Social Distancing

Shoppers practicing social distancing lined up outside retail warehouse store in Tucson during the coronavirus pandemic

Fauci has consistently reiterated that it's important to stay more than six feet away from other people (who don't live in your household) whenever you're in public. 


Wear a Mask

woman with a surgical mask on her face

Consistent face mask wearing can prevent you from spreading coronavirus if you're infected, and Fauci has previously said that wearing a face mask reduces your own chances of contracting coronavirus by 50% to 80%. "The message should be, 'Wear a mask, period,'" Fauci said this summer.


Wash Your Hands

Woman Washing her hands with soap and water at home bathroom

Back in April, Fauci advocated "absolute compulsive hand-washing" to slow the spread of coronavirus. On the PBS NewsHour later that month, he said it was the absolute best way to avoid getting COVID-19. Do it frequently and thoroughly—with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.


Socialize Outdoors, Not Indoors

Friends drinking spritz at cocktail bar with face masks

"I would get as much outdoors as you possibly can," said Fauci on Aug. 13. "If you look at the super-spreader events that have occurred … they're almost always inside—in nursing homes, meat-packing, prisons, choirs, churches, congregations of weddings and other social events where people get together. Nothing's 100%, but it's almost invariable that it's indoors. So when you are indoors, make sure you have a mask. When you're outdoors, keep the mask on."


Take Action This Weekend

Experts are concerned about the uptick in the nation's coronavirus caseload, which rose 0.6% last week, even before fall's cooler weather ushers Americans indoors, where recirculating air can spread the virus readily. But Fauci emphasized that this weekend, people can take action to prevent a dire transition to fall. "We really still need to get our arms around this and to suppress these types of surges that we've seen," he told Mitchell. "We can do it."

As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Mask up, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more about Michael