I'm a Virus Expert and Warn it's Dangerous Entering Here
As fall sets in, COVID cases are flattening nationwide, but the highly contagious Delta variant remains a concern; some states are seeing double-digit surges of the virus. What leisure activities is it wiser to avoid for now? "It depends on the prevalence of COVID in the local community," says Karen Jubanyik, MD, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Yale University School of Medicine and author of Beat the Coronavirus. "Where COVID is prevalent, I would avoid indoor, optional activities. It also depends on the vaccination rate in that community as well as the mask rules/adherence rates." She would not avoid necessary activities such as seeking medical attention or going to school with a mask.
But if vaccination rates are low in a particular area and/or people aren't wearing masks and are packed in closely, Jubanyik wouldn't go to these five places. Read on to find out more, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You May Have Already Had COVID.
Instead of a crowded movie theater, it's a safer option to choose a drive-in or have a movie night outside at home, says Jubanyik. "The number of people watching a movie with you is the main concern when inside a movie theater," Kenneth Perry, MD, FACEP, told ETNT Health. "For new releases where the theater is filled, the risk continues to be too high." In August, 89 percent of a group of epidemiologists surveyed by STAT News said they wouldn't go to a movie theater right now.
Indoor Concert or Sporting Event
A situation where people are often packed in closely and are yelling or cheering is risky for the spread of a respiratory virus as infectious as the Delta variant. "Spectators at sporting events should consider the number of COVID-19 cases both where they live and where the sporting event is taking place before deciding to attend," the CDC says. "The higher the transmission of COVID-19 in the community, the higher the risk of transmission of COVID-19 at sporting events."
Close quarters, often poorly ventilated—indoor restaurants and bars have been a major source of transmission during the pandemic, and they're still risky. Dubanyik would not dine at an indoor restaurant "especially if tables are close together. I prefer takeout, eating outside, or in restaurants with good spacing." In August, 67 percent of the virus experts surveyed by STAT News said they wouldn't eat indoors at a restaurant.
A casino is "a large indoor area, often with a lot of smoke," notes Dubanyik, making it risky when there's a respiratory pandemic still raging in many areas. As in movie theaters, indoor concerts, and restaurants, often people are seated nearly elbow-to-elbow, making social distancing impossible.
"This is especially risky as often a large group of people are coming in from different areas of the country—or, sometimes, world," says Jubanyik. In August, 59 percent of the virus experts surveyed by STAT News said they wouldn't go to an indoor wedding right now.
How to Stay Safe Out There
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.
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