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Dr. Fauci says this is the most dangerous place you can go as coronavirus cases surge

Published Oct 1st, 2020 10:02AM EDT
Coronavirus Spread
Image: Kevin Dietsch - Pool via CNP/MEGA

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  • The coronavirus is still spreading at alarming rates as the northern hemisphere enters the winter.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci reminded people in a new interview of the same fundamentals he’s been advocating for months when it comes to reducing the COVID-19 spread, with particular emphasis on one thing in particular.
  • As temperatures drop, Fauci warns that people should continue avoiding indoor activities that favor the spread of the virus, compared to outdoor settings.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread at alarming rates and things aren’t looking good heading into the winter months. While flu outbreaks are seasonal, COVID-19 spreads just as fast in the cold as it does in warmer weather. As a result, health officials are now worried about a coronavirus and flu convergence in the coming months. Dr. Anthony Fauci has long advocated for the need to get the number of daily new infections down before the fall and winter. There’s no method that’s 100% effective in preventing COVID-19, but we have a number of public health measures that can work in our favor. The nation’s top infectious disease specialist has now reiterated the public health measures that can reduce transmission in a new interview, stressing the most dangerous place you can go right now, as cold weather sets in.

Fauci mentioned the same “four or five” things that can reduce the risk during an interview with JAMA’s Howard C. Bauchner, via EatThis. Anyone who has ever listened to Fauci speak about reducing the spread will not be surprised to hear he touched on the same points he has been making all summer long. But what changed is the way he referred to one thing in particular — indoor gatherings.

“If you look at some of the super spreading type things that have occurred, almost all of them occurred in indoor situations,” Fauci said. “When we get to the fall and the winter, by the very nature of the climate in most parts of the country—not every part, but most parts of the country—you’re going to have to do a lot of things indoors at a necessity of the temperature.”

Avoiding being indoors around other people is one of his “four or five” fundamentals. But it’s even more crucial to respect this rule during winter months when the cold weather tends to drive people indoors. The virus spreads via saliva droplets and aerosols, and indoor settings favor both of them by helping them linger in the air for longer periods.

“The one thing you don’t want to scare the public. When they hear aerosol, they think it’s in the air,” Fauci said, pointing out that the virus moves through the air outside as well. But the virus “can hang around a bit longer before it actually dissipates” indoors. “That’s the reason why, when you look at the recommendations we make, ‘try to do things outdoors, preferentially over indoors,’ because in that case, things get dispersed and diluted very, very easily,” he said.

Fauci continues to recommend that people wear masks, practice social distancing, avoid crowds, and continue to wash their hands frequently, in addition to avoiding indoors activities.

Some indoor activities can’t be completely avoided, of course. You’ll still have to shop for food and other essentials, so trips to grocery stores and other places will continue to happen during the winter months. But Fauci’s comments refer more to other kinds of indoor activities that can be avoided as the virus is raging, like going to restaurants and bars or attending parties. These are the kind of indoor activities that have unwanted side-effects when it comes to other precautions. People are less likely to wear masks or use social distancing in a restaurant or a bar, compared to a grocery store. That’s why indoor spaces remain the most dangerous places you can be when it comes to contracting the novel coronavirus.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.