In California and elsewhere cities are starting to "open-up". We have had a tough few months with soaring hospitalizations, deaths and infections with Covid-19. Despite infection rates that are still high, California is coming out of "lock-down" and businesses that had previously been closed are authorized to open. But what is really safe? How can we judge the danger of catching Covid and how can we protect ourselves and our loved-ones? The following are danger activities and STILL should be avoided.
Indoor gatherings- large groups of people inside are still "super-spreader" events. Contract tracings in NYC showed 75% of infections could be traced to indoor gatherings. It's hard because the weather is forcing us inside but be inside alone or with your immediate bubble only.
Bars and restaurants- It pains me to write this because I'm dying to go out and socialize over food and drink. Most people say that is what they miss the most. But these are situations where masks come off and people get close...risks for contagion. Until we can dine outside it is still best to do "take-out". And do support your local establishments so they can stay in business. Tip big too.
Gyms- This is a bit controversial as all gyms are not run the same. Certainly the benefits of exercise are huge and being fit is protection against getting severely ill with Covid. If the gym enforces social distance and wearing masks and cleans the equipment after each use, it is probably fairly safe to use it. If it is a high sweat, hard panting "indoor gathering" without masks, avoid, avoid, avoid.
Travel- Avoid planes, bus and train travel if possible. Yes, the airlines are trying to do a good job and President Biden's mandate to use a mask for interstate travel is critical, but the risk is still there. Airports, TSA lines, baggage claim and boarding are all risky until this virus starts to wane. If possible, drive in your own car. If you must fly, please double mask.
Public Transportation- It's impossible for millions of people to avoid public transportation if they need it to get to work and have no other means. Most bus lines, trains and ferries have already instituted social distancing and cleaning. But it is still considered "indoor space" so the riders should double mask and try to keep 6 feet away from other passengers if possible.
Here's some good news. We are now a year into this pandemic and we've learned that we can relax about catching it from "surfaces". Good hand washing, yes! But no need to wipe everything down with Clorox. Frequent hand washing is still effective for decreasing transmission of Covid and other colds and flu.
We don't want to let down our vigilance now that people are getting vaccinated. The vaccine rate needs to speed up, but until that happens we need to stay focused and safe.