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I'm a Virus Expert and Warn You Don't Go Here Now

COVID experts explain places to avoid right now.

We're all over the pandemic and just want to go back to normal life, but COVID isn't done. In fact, cases are rising again across the United States and in several other countries thanks to Omicron which is considered the most contagious mutation yet. Furthermore, "one of the newest subvariants, called BA.2.75.2, can evade immune responses better than all earlier forms of Omicron," reports the Times. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with experts who warn places to avoid in an effort to prevent catching COVID and what to know about COVID right now. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Indoor Bars and Restaurants

eating at the bar

Dr. Joe Gastaldo, OhioHealth medical director, infectious diseases says, "Going unmasked in crowded indoor spaces with suboptimal ventilation; crowded indoor bars or restaurants is risky, " says Dr. Gastaldo. Crowded; sub-optimal air ventilation; no mask wearing (people are eating & drinking). With ingestion of alcohol: people are more likely to 'risk taking.' Dr. Gastaldo  advises instead, "Eat outdoors, avoid crowded restaurants or bars. If sitting in a restaurant, sit in an area that is sequestered; not around areas of "high traffic"; only remove masks when sitting and eating or drinking. Do not go out in public if you are not feeling well."  


Indoor Gyms or Health Clubs with Poor Ventilation

crowded gym people on treadmills

Dr. J. Wes Ulm, Harvard and MIT-trained MD, PhD with a background in bioinformatics, gene therapy, genetics, drug discovery, consulting, education and part of the Heroes of the COVID Crisis says, "The dovetailing of a historically infectious virus with the heavy breathing and exertion of a gym or club can amount to an inauspicious combination to put it charitably, with markedly enhanced risk of an occupant breathing in a high enough infectious dose to risk a serious COVID bout and/or long COVID. Fortunately, owners of establishments like gyms, spas, health clubs, and swimming pools, well aware of the need to reassure their clients for their bottom line, have been among the business owners most vigilant about ensuring proper ventilation, air filtration, and other proven infection control measures. Check with the proprietor and officials at your local gym or club on the ventilation and infection mitigation, and where possible, mix in settings outside (such as outdoor swimming pools) to cut down on the risk of a severe bout with BA.5."


BA.5 is Highly Contagious


Dr. Gastaldo tells us, "This is the current predominant circulating subvariant of omicron.  It is not a new virus, still SARS Co_2, the virus that causes COVID.  This variant is the most transmissible ("contagious") and immune evasive to date.  Immunity induced from previous infection and vaccinations are less reliable to stopping infections with this variant."


Why You Should Still Get Vaccinated

Doctor vaccinating male patient in clinic

According to Dr. Gastaldo, "The vaccines are still performing very well with what they were intended to do, protect against severe disease resulting in hospitalization and death.  Being up to date with COVID vaccinations and receiving all eligible boosters is imperative for protection against severe disease."


COVID Can Cause Serious Complications

woman with cold, working on laptop computer, coughing and sneezing

Taking safety precautions is highly advisable because COVID affects everyone differently and can cause severe compilations like lung damage. Dr. William Li, physician, scientist, president and medical director of the Angiogenesis Foundation, author of Eat To Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself and COVID researcher explains, "COVID starts in the airways which includes the lungs, because the aerosolized coronavirus is inhaled to cause infection. Once in the lung, the virus infected both lung cells and blood vessel cells. This damages them and sets off inflammation which can vary from unnoticeable to mild to severe.  Lung inflammation causes coughing and shortness of breath.  Today's version of COVID is very different from the original 2020 disease. If you are vaccinated and boosted, getting COVID is unlikely to send you to the hospital. But the virus does cause silent damage to both airways and blood vessels — this is seen in about 30% of people who develop from long COVID." 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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