5 Places to Avoid Right Now Due to Delta
The surging Delta variant of the coronavirus has disrupted the plans many of us had for a relatively carefree summer. Now masks are back, and plans are changing. But what does that mean, exactly? If you want to be as safe as possible, what places should you avoid because of Delta? Here's the latest advice the experts are giving. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.
Crowded Indoor Places
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious-disease expert, said this week he was "very concerned" another COVID surge could follow the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota, which hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend, mainly in local bars. (Experts believe as many as 266,000 COVID cases resulted from the event last year.) "To me, it's understandable that people want to do the kinds of things they want to do. They want their freedom to do that. But there comes a time when you're dealing with a public health crisis that could involve you, your family and everyone else, that something supersedes that need to do exactly what you want to do," he said.
Crowded Outdoor Places
Fauci previously warned against crowded events like Lollapalooza in Chicago. "I was a bit taken aback by the film clips that I saw," he said in an interview earlier this month. "There were a lot of people crowded around together, and given the fact that we know that vaccinated people can spread infection, and even though we know that outdoors is always safer than indoors, there was a really lot of crowd that we saw in those films. So I got a little bit concerned about that myself. I'm pretty risk averse. So I would, even though I'm vaccinated, I don't think I would go to a really massively crowded place where you're essentially face-to-face with somebody. I would be concerned about that."
Certain International Destinations
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising Americans not to travel to countries at Level 4 COVID spread, defined as more than 500 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days. These include France, Brazil, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. You can see the agency's latest recommendations in map form here.
These U.S. States
The U.S. also qualifies for the CDC's Level 4 list. And the 10 states with the highest transmission are all in one region: the South. "If we're going to talk about traveling to the U.K., then we should also caution Americans about traveling to Florida," Ebony Jade Hilton, MD, of the University of Virginia told Yahoo Finance on July 21. "Right now, one in every five new COVID cases are coming out of Florida." The state's daily caseload has since doubled. According to data from the Brown School of Public Health, as of Aug. 18, Florida's seven-day average of new cases per 100,000 people is 115.1, followed by Mississippi with 114, Louisiana at 108.6, Alabama at 74.3 and Arkansas at 70.9.
Because of the surge of the hyper-transmissible Delta variant, indoor restaurants and bars are once again on the "no-go" list for some experts. Syra Madad, senior director for the special pathogens program in the NYC Health + Hospitals network, is one of them. "More than 95% of Americans live in areas of high or substantial community transmission, so it's no longer a matter of 'Yes, I'll eat indoors if I'm in an area of low community transmission," she told PBS NewsHour this week.
"If you're indoors — whether it's a restaurant, a gym or a concert — you're going to be more prone to acquiring the virus, whether you're vaccinated or not, just from that unventilated setting," Ravina Kullar, a Los Angeles-based infectious disease expert and member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, told CNBC last month.
How to Stay Safe Out There
Follow the 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 protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.