These Popular COVID Hotspots Are Being Forced to Close
Over the last month, Dr. Anthony Fauci, key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, has been on a media tour attempting to educate the country about the simple things that can be done to stop the spread of coronavirus. One of the "five or six" key public health principles he has been touting, four of them—"Universal wearing of a mask, physical distancing, avoid crowds, outdoor better than indoor" are extremely difficult to do in many indoor type situations, primarily eating in a restaurant or drinking at a bar. In fact, Dr. Fauci has bluntly stated that bars should be closed and indoor dining avoided.
However, according to several new reports many people aren't following the infectious disease experts suggestions: bars and restaurants are the new coronavirus outbreak hotspots.
"Scores" of Restaurants are Forced to Close
The New York Times reports that "scores" of restaurants across the country are being forced to temporarily close as a result of outbreaks involving staff as well as patrons. And, they offer evidence in the form of data released by individual states and cities, as proof.
For example, according to Louisiana data, about a quarter of the state's non nursing home or prison-related 2,360 cases since March have stemmed from bars and restaurants. New cases linked to bars and restaurants in July over in Maryland was 12 percent, while Colorado in, 9 percent of all coronavirus cases overall stemmed from these types of establishments.
As a result of these outbreaks, restaurants and bars everywhere from Nashville to Nashville to Milwaukee, have been forced to temporarily close. Other states have been forced to abandon indoor dining altogether, and Texas and Florida opted to close bars altogether this summer after surging cases.
Don't Eat Indoors
The NYT points out that it isn't clear how the virus was spread in these settings. For example, what percentage of workers spread the virus to other coworkers or patrons, or whether customers were responsible for bringing the virus to the bars and restaurants. Experts believe one of reasons why these places may be hotspots for the virus is due to the fact that many employees are in their 20s and are asymptomatic spreaders, bringing the virus home with them and spreading to higher risk people.
Lindsey Leininger, a health policy researcher and a clinical professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, pointed out that it is very likely these outbreaks occurred in indoor settings. "As of recently, we still hadn't traced a major U.S. outbreak of any sort to an outdoor exposure," she told the outlet.
If you do opt to visit a restaurant or bar, your best bet is to dine or drink al fresco, according to Fauci, who is avoiding public watering holes and dining establishments altogether.
"Indoors is much worse than outdoors," Dr. Fauci reiterated during a recent interview with MarketWatch. "If you're going to go to a restaurant, try as best as you can to have outdoor seating that is properly spaced between the tables."
And do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19: Mask up, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, never eat indoors, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.