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How to Avoid COVID Right Now, According to Doctors

“If you're young and you gathered, you need to be tested about 5 to 10 days later,” says Dr. Birx.
Woman wearing trendy outfit with protective face mask.

The coronavirus cases—and hospitalizations and deaths—are surging every day, and won't stop. "What we expect, unfortunately, as we go for the next couple of weeks into December, is that we might see a surge superimposed on the surge we are already in," Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an interview with NBC's Meet the Press. "I don't want to frighten people, except to say it is not too late to do something about this." Here are the measures you can take to save a life, including your own—read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.


You Should Get Tested if You Did This Over Thanksgiving

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The CDC advised against traveling over Thanksgiving. Millions of Americans ignored this advice. "We know people may have made mistakes over the Thanksgiving time period," said Dr. Deborah Birx, Coronavirus Response Coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, on CBS's Face the Nation Sunday. "So if you're young and you gathered, you need to be tested about 5 to 10 days later. But you need to assume that you're infected and not go near your grandparents and aunts and others without a mask. We're really asking families to even mask indoors if they chose to gather during Thanksgiving and others went across the country or even into the next state."


You Should Quarantine, Too

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"Right now, as people go back," from the Thanksgiving holiday, "we want to urge them, if they've been in situations outside of the family setting, in which they really don't know the level of exposure, to be really careful when you either return from the place that you went or other people come back into your house, that you've really got to understand the importance of trying to prevent further spread and further surge," said Fauci. "That may be when you go back to where you've came from, if it's possible, to quarantine yourself for a period of time, or even get tested to make sure that you're not bringing infection back to another place, be it another home, or another family."

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The Restrictions are Here to Stay

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"When you have the kind of inflection that we have, it doesn't all of a sudden turn around like that," Fauci answered. "So clearly, in the next few weeks, we're going to have the same sort of thing, and perhaps even two or three weeks down the line, Martha, we may see a surge upon a surge. You know, we don't want to frighten people, but that's just the reality. We said that these things would happen as we got into the cold weather and as we began traveling. And they've happened. It's going to happen again."

"So I cannot see all of a sudden a relaxation of the kinds of recommendations or restrictions," he continued. "Because we're getting into colder weather and an — and an even larger holiday season, as people travel to come back and forth for Christmas. So I don't see a relaxation of the kind of recommendations and restrictions that we've made."


You Should Avoid Bars (But Keep Schools Open)

When it comes to "shut downs," Dr. Fauci was clear on one point: "close the bars and keep the schools open is what we really say," he said. "Obviously, you don't have one size fits all. But as I said in the past and as you accurately quoted me, the default position should be to try as best as possible within reason to keep the children in school, or to get them back to school." And, "let's try to get the kids back, but let's try to mitigate the things that maintain and just push the kind of community spread that we're trying to avoid. And those are the things that you know well — the bars, the restaurants where you have capacity seating indoors without masks, those are the things that drive the community spread, not the schools."

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Dr. Fauci Begs You Follow the Fundamentals

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Fauci warned that "we likely will have an increase in cases as we get into the colder weeks of the winter and as we approach the Christmas season" and begged: "Please don't forget the standard public health measures that we talk about. The reason I say that, and almost plead with people, is that we do know that it does work. Countries that have mitigated have turned around the surge. States that have mitigated have had a turnaround of the inflection of the curve. So it does work."

"So everyone is totally empathetic about the fatigue that everyone is feeling," he continued, "but if we can hang in there — hang in there a bit longer and do the fundamental things, wearing of masks uniformly, avoiding crowds in congregate settings, keeping physical distance, washing your hands — they seem simple in the enormity of the problem that we're facing, but they do make a difference." So follow those fundamentals, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.