President Trump Says This is the One Place You Need to Avoid Right Now
On Tuesday, President Trump held a press conference to discuss the coronavirus outbreak and for the first time made some strong recommendations about how to protect yourself during the pandemic. He strongly advised you wear a face mask, wash your hands regularly, practice social distancing—and he had a message for one specific demographic that is essential for all of us to hear: "We are imploring young Americans to avoid packed bars and other crowded indoor gatherings," he said. "Be safe and be smart."
Trump and Fauci Agree on This Point
His words echo those of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, who was notably absent from the press conference. Dr. Fauci, Director of NIAID and a member of the Coronavirus Task Force, and Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were both bluntly asked by Senator Mitt Romney which places were more dangerous than others, during a Senate hearing in June.
While Dr. Redfield emphasized "knowing what the kinetics of transmission are in the community" — ie, do you live in a hotspot or an area where there is limited transmission — Dr. Fauci didn't hold back in identifying one type of establishment that is the ultimate danger zone for transmission.
"Congregation at a bar inside is bad news," he stated. "We really got to stop that. Right now."
It's One of the "Worst Things We Can Do"
Lisa Maragakis, M.D., M.P.H., senior director of infection prevention for the Johns Hopkins Health System, told us in July exactly why giong to a bar is bad news. "One of the worst things any of us can do right now is to go to an indoor location where we are in close contact with large numbers of people with whom we have not been sheltering—and it's even worse if we do that without wearing a mask," said Dr. Maragakis. "In recent days I have heard from quite a number of people who have done just that as the restaurants and bars have opened and these people are not perceiving the risk to themselves or their friends—they are spending time in close proximity without masks indoors and then finding out that one of them has tested positive. That's the very worst scenario."
The reason why staying outdoors (while wearing a face mask and social distancing) is better than hanging indoors (with people you're not sheltering with) comes down to how the virus is transmitted. "It's a matter of respiratory droplets and for a respiratory virus, we have known they are transmitted when someone coughs or sneezes—and a virus such as COVID-19, well, we know it can be spread from people without symptoms, and respiratory droplets are expelled from talking and singing," she says. "When you're indoors, all of those droplets can accumulate in the air. Many indoor locations don't have great ventilation or air exchanges and all of these people are in there."
So: Avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), wear a face mask, practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, get tested if you think you have COVID-19, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.