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COVID Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make Right Now

It's not safe out there yet.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab

In many parts of the country, COVID-19 cases are rising again, driven by the highly contagious BA.2 subvariant that caused huge surges of the disease in Europe earlier this year. As some areas have begun to reinstate mask mandates, many of us are wondering what we need to do avoid catching BA.2. Here's what the experts say are the COVID mistakes you can't afford to make right now. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

To Be Unvaccinated

covid-19 vaccine
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COVID-19 vaccinations continue to be highly effective against severe illness, hospitalization, or death from the virus. In late March, the CDC said that according to data from the height of the Omicron surge, the risk of dying from COVID is 21 times greater for unvaccinated people compared to those who are vaccinated and boosted. During that peak, 15 out of every 100,000 unvaccinated people died of COVID, while only one out of every 100,000 vaccinated and boosted patients died.

2

Not To Get a Second Booster Under These Conditions

Doctor injecting vaccine to senior woman
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The CDC recommends that all Americans older than 12 should get a booster dose after completing their primary vaccination series. In addition, it's recommended that people older than 50, or people with certain immunocompromising conditions, get a second booster dose ASAP. Experts say these second booster doses are important because immunity against the virus wanes several months after the first booster. 

3

To Go Unmasked in These Areas

Woman removing face mask from her face outdoors.
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According to the CDC's official updated guidelines, you should mask up in public in areas where COVID spread is high. Those standards have changed, and the agency now maintains a color-coded map on its website—green denotes low spread, yellow is medium, and red is high. In the green zone, facial masks aren't recommended (although anyone can wear one if they choose). In yellow areas, you should talk with your doctor about whether you should mask or take other precautions. According to the latest data, about 95% of the country is in the "low" category, while 4% is seeing "medium" spread, although those numbers may soon change.

4

To Throw Away Your Face Masks

Spare multiple disposable medical masks
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Earlier this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious-disease expert, reminded Americans that COVID was not going to be eliminated or eradicated, and learning to live with the virus meant staying flexible about safety precautions, which may need to be resumed when surges inevitably hit. "Remember, when the metrics were put forth, the new metrics looking at the guidance of masking, it was said that if we do start seeing an uptick, particularly of hospitalizations, we may need to revert back to being more careful and having more utilizations of masks indoors," he said. "But right now we're watching it very, very carefully." 

5

How to Stay Safe Out There

Check-in for coronavirus vaccination against Covid-19 with doctor in the background.
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Follow the fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID

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