- With the coronavirus still surging across the country, adhering to COVID-19 safety guidelines is as important as ever.
- Dr. Fauci in recent weeks has stressed that Americans should avoid bars, restaurants, and going to the gym.
- Vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna should ultimately defeat the coronavirus, but the U.S. may not achieve herd immunity until November.
A few weeks ago, Dr. Fauci warned that January was poised to be the worst month of the entire pandemic. Fauci’s opinion, which was echoed by many prominent health experts, was based on the fact that millions of Americans were planning to travel home over the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve holidays.
“I think January is going to be terrible because you’re going to have the Thanksgiving surge super-imposed upon the Christmas surge,” Fauci said. “So it’s entirely conceivable that January could be the worst.”
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Fast forward a few weeks and Fauci’s prediction has sadly become a reality. The coronavirus is currently surging at a rate we haven’t seen since the pandemic began. What’s more coronavirus-related deaths and hospitalizations are now at an all-time high.
Consider this: Over the last week, the average number of new coronavirus infections has been in the range of 230,000. This is the highest weekly average we’ve seen to date and, to put it into context, is more than double what the U.S. was experiencing back in early November. The average daily death rate, meanwhile, has been in the range of 2,700 over the last week. This is also a record-breaking figure and is three times higher than what we saw in early November.
Suffice it to say, the coronavirus pandemic isn’t going away anytime soon, despite the arrival of effective vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. Consequently, it’s essential that people stay vigilant and strictly adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines.
“We get so kind of blinded by vaccine euphoria — the light at the end of the tunnel — that we underestimate how long that tunnel is, and how dangerous that tunnel is,” said Peter Sands, an executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.
All that said, Dr. Fauci in recent weeks has been emphasizing, time and time again, that people looking to remain safe should avoid going to four places.
For starters, Fauci is imploring people to avoid hanging out in bars. What’s more, Fauci believes we’d be better off if all bars would simply remain closed for the time being.
“We say it, not being facetiously or having a soundbite or anything, but you know: close the bars, keep the schools open, is what we really say,” Fauci said during an interview a few weeks back.
Beyond bars, Fauci is also urging people to avoid going to restaurants. Especially now that outdoor dining isn’t feasible across many states, indoor dining can be especially risky due to poor ventilation.
“We need to pay a little bit more attention now to the recirculation of air indoors,” Fauci Fauci told JAMA this past summer, “which tells you that mask-wearing indoors when you’re in a situation like that is something that is as important as wearing masks when you’re outside dealing with individuals who you don’t know where they came from or who they are.”
Fauci also wants people to avoid going to the gym. Even though many gyms have implemented safety measures, it’s not entirely a risk-free activity.
Health.com reported the following back in September:
According to the CDC report, 7.8% of people who tested positive had been to the gym in the past two weeks, compared to 6.3% of those who tested negative. Dr. Fauci explained that people tend to breathe heavily in gyms, expelling more potentially contaminated droplets into a contained space with no outside air filtering in. Also, gym equipment is shared, and the communal surfaces can harbor germs. In a study published in the journal Sports Health earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25% of the surfaces tested in four different athletic training facilities.
And lastly, Fauci wants people to avoid unnecessary travel whenever possible.
While all of the above examples should go without saying at this point, the ongoing surge of new infections suggests that a reminder may be necessary. Especially with pandemic fatigue now a serious issue, it’s important to remember how crucial it is to follow basic safety guidelines to prevent additional outbreaks.