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As COVID Deaths Climb, CDC Says How to Stay Safe

"We must act together in this moment to address the impact of current cases."
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

The coronavirus winter surge is causing COVID deaths to rise—"the current seven day average of cases is about 103,800 per day. And the seven day average of hospital admissions is about 6,800 per day. The seven day average of daily deaths is about 1,100 per day," said CDC Chief Dr. Rochelle Walensky at yesterday's COVID press briefing. Those deaths are up 57% in the last week, according to federal data. And now there is a new variant—Omicron—spreading COVID quickly. "We must act together in this moment to address the impact of current cases we are seeing, which are largely Delta, and to prepare ourselves for the possibility of more Omicron. We must act in this moment to mobilize together, to do what we know works." Read on to discover how to stay your safest—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

Get Vaccinated or Boosted, Says CDC

Doctor holding syringe in hospital.
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"We have months of study on Delta and all of those data demonstrate that vaccines work, testing works, masking works, and the ventilation works while we are still working to understand the severity of Omicron, as well as how it responds to therapeutics and vaccines, we anticipate that all of the same measures will at least in part provide some protection Omicron. So if you are not yet vaccinated, this means getting vaccinated. If you are eligible to be boosted and you are not yet boosted, this also means getting boosted."

2

Use Tests, Including At-Home Tests

Man self tests for COVID-19 home test kit.
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When it comes at at-home gatherings, "an at-home test can tell you if you have disease right now and what we might transmit it to somebody else. But the best thing that we can do is to protect from getting disease" is "vaccinating and boosting," said Walensky. "What I would say about using the rapid test is that when you're practicing all of those prevention interventions"—like vaccinations, wearing masks in public indoor settings—"and you want to gather together, for example, for the holidays and a multi-generational household, and everybody's been practicing those prevention interventions before you come together, everybody might want to do a test for an extra set of reassurance to make sure that you can gather safely together."

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3

Wear a Mask in These Settings

medical mask in the metro
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Staying safe "means wearing masks in public indoor settings, especially in areas of high transmit high and substantial transmission," said Dr. Walensky. "In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated," says the CDC. "If you are fully vaccinated, to maximize protection and prevent possibly spreading COVID-19 to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission."

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4

Only Enter Highly Ventilated Areas

woman wear face mask entering shop or restaurant
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"SARS-CoV-2 viral particles spread between people more readily indoors than outdoors. Indoors, the concentration of viral particles is often higher than outdoors, where even a light wind can rapidly reduce concentrations. When indoors, ventilation mitigation strategies can help reduce viral particle concentration. The lower the concentration, the less likely viral particles can be inhaled into the lungs (potentially lowering the inhaled dose); contact eyes, nose, and mouth; or fall out of the air to accumulate on surfaces. Protective ventilation practices and interventions can reduce the airborne concentrations and reduce the overall viral dose to occupants," says the CDC.

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5

How to Stay Safe Out There

Brunette woman wearing a KN95 FPP2 mask.
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Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek
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