Virus Experts Warn Don't Go Here Even if It's Open
The Delta variant continues to surge nationwide, and being cautious is still important, whether you've been vaccinated against COVID-19 or not. Delta is far more contagious than the original coronavirus, and even if you've been vaccinated, it's possible to carry and transmit the virus. This can have serious consequences if you live with people who are immunocompromised or unvaccinated. These are the places virus experts warn you shouldn't go, even if they're open. 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.
Crowded Indoor Spaces
As experts have said from the beginning of the pandemic, keeping your distance from people who don't live in your household is important, and gathering outdoors is safer than indoors. Despite the advent of the COVID vaccine, "We should still choose bigger spaces with fewer faces, and if we turn up to a location or event and feel there are too many people, we have to be ready to leave," Dr. Gwen Murphy, Ph.D., MPH, director of epidemiology for Let'sGetChecked, told ETNT Health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has 75 countries on its Level Four COVID risk assessment list, signifying that coronavirus transmission is very high. "Avoid travel to these destinations," the CDC says bluntly. "If you must travel to these destinations, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel." On the list: the United Kingdom, Ireland, Greece, and Costa Rica.
Indoor Restaurants And Bars
"If you are not vaccinated right now in the United States, you should not go into a bar, you should probably not eat at a restaurant. You are at great risk of becoming infected," Dr. Jonathan Reiner, professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University, told CNN on July 27. Since then, the seven-day moving average of COVID-19 cases has nearly tripled nationwide.
Even if you're vaccinated, you still run a risk of contracting COVID-19 and can pass it on to others, so you might want to stick to outdoor restaurants and bars for the moment.
Not every decision on where to go is cut and dry. Every public trip involves an element of risk based on your vaccination status and the number of people you'll be around. Case in point: Movie theaters. "The number of people watching a movie with you is going to be the main concern when inside a movie theater," Kenneth Perry, MD, FACEP, told ETNT Health. "If a movie theater has appropriate separation between even other parties, the risk is still probably low, but for new releases where the theater is filled, the risk continues to be too high."
Restaurants large and small have introduced a number of new COVID safety initiatives, including more outdoor seating and socially distanced tables. However, there's one type of dining establishment you might still want to avoid. "Even within all the safety options, buffets are still going to be higher risk," said Perry. "People are going to be closer to each other at the buffet line, and possibly not wearing masks. This is even without the risk of transmission from the food itself, but more due to the close contact with people."
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.