• The latest coronavirus update for the US, as of the time of this writing, shows that more than 26 million coronavirus infections have been identified here since the start of the pandemic.
  • Public health experts like White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci are warning people to not let their guard down right now and to continue adhering to public health measures.
  • Suggestions he’s sharing at the moment include making sure if you eat inside a restaurant, that tables and diners are sufficiently spaced out from each other.

The latest coronavirus update from the team of researchers at Johns Hopkins University that’s been tracking the coronavirus pandemic since the initial outbreak of COVID-19 shows that there have now been more than 26.5 million coronavirus infections identified in the US to-date, as of the time of this writing. Additionally, more than 451,000 coronavirus deaths have been reported.

Among the many ways that metrics like those have forced a change in peoples’ daily lives, most of us haven’t seen the inside of a movie theater in almost a year now — and the same goes for traveling by plane, or eating indoors at a restaurant. Each of those activities seems like the last place you’d want to be right now if you’re worried about getting infected by COVID-19. And while the latest news about the pandemic is thankfully pretty promising (with coronavirus cases falling at the moment) that also doesn’t mean it’s time to let your guard down and just pick right back up with normal life.

Today's Top Deal Amazon shoppers are obsessed with these black AccuMed face masks - now at the lowest price ever! Price:$19.99 Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission Buy Now Available from Amazon BGR may receive a commission

If you’re going to pursue these or other activities like them outside the home, though, at least take the steps needed to keep yourself as safe as possible in these settings — when you’re around other people whose health you can’t necessarily vouch for. Restaurants are a good example of this.

We get it, it can be pretty annoying and certainly offer a sub-par experience to patronize a restaurant without sitting down to eat inside. The alternatives include utilizing a delivery service like Uber Eats or picking up the food yourself (which might require running inside, in lieu of curbside service) and hoping your food stays fresh during the journey back home. White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, meanwhile, has a message for those of you who decide to take the risk and go ahead and sit back down at a table to eat at a restaurant indoors again

Keeping yourselves socially distanced from other diners, and at tables that are adequately spaced-out, is the way to safe indoors at a restaurant right now, Dr. Fauci said. “If you do indoor dining, you do it in a spaced way where you don’t have people sitting right next to each other,” he told CNN’s Don Lemon. He then pivoted to a related topic, how the fate of restaurants demonstrates the terrible economic costs associated with the pandemic:

“You know, people think sometimes that public health officials are oblivious to the economic considerations — not at all, I mean, we are very empathetic towards that. But we still have to maintain the public health measures if we’re going to get our arms around this outbreak.”

Speaking of normal activities like eating inside restaurants again, Dr. Fauci also added that he thinks we’ll be able to see the early stages of a “return to normal” sometime before the end of this year. The deciding factor, no surprise, is how quickly we can get enough people vaccinated against COVID-19. Along those lines, the latest data from Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker show that 36.7 million Americans have received at least one coronavirus vaccine dose since vaccinations began in mid-December.

Today's Top Deal Amazon shoppers are obsessed with these black AccuMed face masks - now at the lowest price ever! Price:$19.99 Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission Buy Now Available from Amazon BGR may receive a commission

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.