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5 "Worst Things" You Could Do Now, Says Virus Expert

Doctor’s advice: five things you shouldn't do during COVID.

While we're all "over" the COVID-19 pandemic and have pandemic fatigue, now isn't the time to get complacent. Quite the opposite, in fact. To find out what the "worst thing" you could do right now is, Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with the highly regarded Dr. Saskia Popescu Ph.D., MPH, MA, CIC, infectious disease epidemiologist and infection preventionist with a focus on hospital bio-preparedness who is nationally recognized for her work in infection prevention and enhancing hospital response to infectious diseases events. She explained the worst things to do right now during that will put you and others at risk for COVID. Read on for 6 points that will save your life—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Don't Avoid Getting Vaccinated Because You Will Need a Booster

Patient refuses to take vaccination.

Dr. Popescu states, "The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control recommends that anyone 12 years or older get a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, but don't let this discourage you about vaccine efficacy. According to the CDC, the vaccine is effective in preventing severe outcomes like hospitalization and death, but immunity can wane over time and the booster helps increase your immune response."


Not Getting Tested Immediately After a Confirmed Exposure

Negative test result by using rapid test device for COVID-19, novel coronavirus

According to Dr. Popescu, "Testing is an important part of preventing the spread of COVID-19, but if you have been exposed to someone who is infected, I recommend waiting 2-3 days before getting a PCR test. It's important to let your viral load develop so that the test can provide you with an accurate result. If you can, quarantine for 5 days and wear a well-fitting mask when you must be around people outside of your home. Also, just because you don't have symptoms doesn't mean you haven't developed COVID—many people, especially vaccinated individuals may have mild or no symptoms if they develop COVID after an exposure."

RELATED: Key Symptoms of an Omicron Infection


Don't Assume Children are Immune to COVID-19

Little girl is sick using oxygen mask on her face laying in bed at hospital.

"Even though children have been less affected by COVID-19 in comparison to adults, Omicron is still spreading likely due to a mix of the variant being more contagious, younger ages might struggle with the concept of social distancing or prefer not to wear a mask and not qualifying for the vaccine and/or booster," Dr. Popescu explains. 

RELATED: Sure Signs You Previously Had COVID


Not Wearing a Mask Indoors When in Public

crowded grocery store

Dr. Popescu states, "Viruses spread more easily in confined spaces, so it's still important to take preventative measures. With COVID-19 cases so high right now, I recommend gathering outdoors where you're able to or choose places that are well-ventilated, and if you are indoors, it's best to wear a mask when interacting with people outside of your household."

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You Shouldn't Forget to Disinfect and Sanitize

Woman applying an antibacterial antiseptic hand gel for hands disinfection

"Cleaning and disinfecting are part of a holistic strategy to prevent illness-causing bacteria," Dr. Popescu says. "As flu infections – and co-infections of the flu and COVID-19 – are increasing in the U.S., I recommend regularly disinfecting high touch surfaces like doorknobs, handles and countertops with Clorox Disinfecting Wipes to prevent the spread of viruses."

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How to Stay Safe Out There

Medic, nurse with face mask and blue nitride gloves sharing a N95 mask.

Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted 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.

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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