COVID Cases are Rising Again and Here's What NOT to Do
We're all ready for COVID to be over. But just because we want the pandemic to be done doesn't make it so, and although experts are urging Americans to make individual risk-benefit calculations when returning to normal activities for the benefit of their mental health, they say that certain precautions are still necessary. We're learning to live with COVID-19, and for everyone's health, that means not making these mistakes. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Ignore Transmission Levels In Your Community
Keeping up-to-date with transmission levels in your community won't just reduce your risk of contracting COVID; it'll help prevent local hospitals from becming overwhelmed. The CDC recently revised its guidelines on what constitutes "medium" and "high" spread of COVID in local communities, and it recommends taking certain precautions when those levels change. (The agency now maintains a color-coded map on its website—green denotes low spread, yellow is medium, and red is high.) In areas where spread is high, you're advised to wear a face mask in public and consider avoiding non-essential activities. In yellow areas, you should talk with your doctor about whether you should mask or take other precautions.
The COVID-19 vaccines and boosters continue to be highly effective against severe illness, hospitalization, or death from the virus. In late March, the CDC said that the risk of dying from COVID is 21 times greater for unvaccinated people compared to those who are vaccinated and boosted. During the Omicron surge earlier this year, 15 out of every 100,000 unvaccinated people died of COVID, while only one out of every 100,000 vaccinated and boosted patients died.
Skip a Booster, If You're In These Groups
The CDC recommends that all Americans older than 12 should get a booster dose after completing their primary vaccination series. In addition, it's recommended that people older than 50, or people with certain immunocompromising conditions, get a second booster dose ASAP. And this week, experts recommended that some people who are immunocompromised, including some people with cancer, receive a fifth vaccine dose, or third booster. Experts say these booster doses are important because immunity against the virus wanes several months after a booster dose.
Throw Away Your Face Masks
COVID is not going away. We're learning to live with the virus, which means staying flexible and ready to resume safety precautions like face masking. "Remember, when the metrics were put forth, the new metrics looking at the guidance of masking, it was said that if we do start seeing an uptick, particularly of hospitalizations, we may need to revert back to being more careful and having more utilizations of masks indoors," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious-disease expert, recently.
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.