- The coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. continues to worsen with each passing week.
- Over the last two weeks, COVID-related deaths have skyrocketed by 60% while coronavirus infections are up nearly 30%.
- Dr. Fauci recently stressed that basic safety guidelines like mask-wearing and avoiding crowds can effectively prevent coronavirus infections.
As encouraging as the coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are, the reality is that we could have moved past the pandemic months ago if people simply followed basic coronavirus safety guidelines. But for reasons that defy reality, the coronavirus bizarrely became a politically divisive issue that saw people defiantly not wearing masks in public and ignoring basic social distancing guidelines.
The efficacy of masks is not up for debate, which is why many countries in Asia — where mask-wearing has long been the norm — weren’t hit as hard by the pandemic as the U.S. What’s more, CDC director Robert Redfield back in September said that masks are “more guaranteed to protect me against COVID19 than when I take a COVID vaccine.”
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The point of bringing all this up is to illustrate that coronavirus safety guidelines exist for a reason and can truly prevent coronavirus outbreaks from happening. As a prime example, Australia’s strict safety guidelines all but eliminated COVID-19 in the country.
With that said, Dr. Anthony Fauci, during a recent interview with Scientific American, laid out five things people can do to prevent them from coming down with the coronavirus:
- Wear a mask
- Follow social distancing guidelines
- Avoid crowded situations, whether it be an airport or a crowded grocery store aisle
- If possible, do activities outdoors as opposed to indoors
- Wash your hands frequently
The advice above certainly isn’t new, but with the coronavirus surging at a rate we haven’t seen before, a reminder can only help. Besides, with pandemic fatigue becoming more of an issue with each passing week, it’s important to remember how basic safety guidelines can go a long way towards preventing coronavirus outbreaks.
To Fauci’s fourth point, it’s important to stress that indoor gatherings are disproportionately responsible for a vast number of coronavirus infections. This underlies Fauci’s plea for Americans to hold off on traditional holiday gatherings this month. What’s more, recent contact tracing data from New York showed that people are 10 times more likely to contract the coronavirus at household gatherings than anywhere else.
If avoiding indoor gatherings is impossible this holiday season, adhering to Fauci’s other pieces of advice – social distancing, hand washing — is paramount.
Looking ahead, we can only hope that coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna will put an end to the pandemic once and for all. Of course, ending the pandemic requires that a majority of Americans take the vaccine, a challenge in and of itself.
“We have the logistics under Operation Warp Speed to put vaccines into the trucks, trains, planes and whatever it is that gets them to where they need to go,” Fauci said. “But then local public health officials will need the capability and resources to distribute the vaccines in an equitable way. It’s going to be a big task to vaccinate more than 300 million people—a very prodigious project.”