I'm a Doctor and Warn You Don't Enter Here This Week
Omicron cases continue to spike in many areas across the U.S. and hospitals are still feeling the effects of the COVID surge with overcrowded emergency rooms and delays in much needed surgeries. "It can be just heartbreaking," Dr. Matt Beecroft told NPR, who recalls one recent patient of his who had a heart attack. "She had been scheduled for a cardiac bypass," a procedure done to improve blood flow when there's an obstructed or partially blocked artery, "but that surgery had been canceled." He added, "There's no way to quantify how many Americans are now suffering serious, if not irreversible, harm to their health because hospitals are buckling under the weight of the omicron variant of the coronavirus. But doctors say the consequences are far-reaching, given how many procedures have been postponed." Staying healthy and trying to prevent catching the virus is imperative during this time. Eat This, Not That Health spoke with doctors who revealed places people should avoid right now and why. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Dr. Bradley Katz, MD, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Utah Medical Center states, "People are often packed together in nightclubs, which increases the likelihood of someone inhaling droplets emitted by someone else which could contain the virus. Dancing in a nightclub can also be a form of exercise, so people are exhaling more and emitting more droplets. These droplets could land on someone else."
Indoor Crowded Situations
Dr. Joseph Basile, MD, Interim Chair of Department of Emergency Medicine at Staten Island University Hospital says, "In order to help prevent catching Omicron, you can try to avoid situations that involve crowded indoor areas such as crowded bars, sporting events, or gyms."
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has long warned you off bars, and told Kaiser Health News that: "Bars are really problematic. I have to tell you, if you look at some of the outbreaks that we've seen, it's when people go into bars, crowded bars. You know, I used to go to a bar. I used to like to sit at a bar and grab a hamburger and a beer. But when you're at a bar, people are leaning over your shoulder to get a drink, people next to each other. It's kind of fun because it's social, but it's not fun when this virus is in the air. So I would think that if there's anything you want to clamp down on, for the time being, it's bars."
How Likely is it to Avoid Omicron?
Dr. Basile says, "Given the high prevalence of Omicron combined with the fact that many people who have Omicron can be asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, it would be difficult to be able to completely avoid Omicron."
Why is Omicron Spreading so Quickly?
According to Dr. Basile, "Omicron is more contagious and is spreading more quickly than previous COVID variants for a few reasons. One of the most important reasons is that the mutations in the Omicron variant allow it to bind to human cells more easily. Another important reason is that the Omicron variant replicates in the upper respiratory tract as opposed to the lower respiratory tract in previous variants."
What Should Someone Do if They've Been Exposed to Omicron?
Dr. Basile explains, "If someone is exposed to someone with Omicron and they are up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations, the CDC recommends that you do not have to quarantine unless you develop symptoms and that you should get tested at least 5 days after the day of contact. If you are not up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations and are exposed to someone with Omicron, the CDC recommends that you stay home and quarantine for at least 5 days and you get tested at least 5 days after the day of contact."
Should We Expose Ourselves to Omicron and Get it Over With? (No!)
"You should never intentionally expose yourself to COVID," Dr. Basile states. "Even though Omicron tends to lead to a less severe illness than previous variants especially in vaccinated individuals, there is still a risk of severe illness and hospitalization with Omicron."
How to Stay Safe Out There
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.