Dr. Anthony Fauci just spoke four scary words: "It's not a blip," the nation's top infectious disease expert told WPIX about the current coronavirus surge, which has resulted in more than 4,000 Americans dead every day, hitting record numbers. "It's very serious. An increase like that "generally follows travel and people congregating together" as people did over the holidays, he said. "I think we're probably right in the middle of that right now." And the worst part: "It could conceivably get worse." All the more reason to use caution before going out. Read on to see where not to go right now—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Don't Travel—Avoid Airports and Train Stations
Americans getting together with people they don't shelter with, and traveling to do so, has caused the latest surge. "We were in a bad place even before the actual holidays came upon us," Fauci said during the Futures Forum on Preparedness hosted by Schmidt Futures and Social Science Research Council. "The pre-Christmas Christmas, the week between Christmas and New Year's and then New Year's, which we know just from observing airports and train stations, there was a considerable amount of travel." Stop now, he advises.
Don't Go Indoors to Hang Out With Anyone You Don't Shelter With
"As you might expect," Fauci continued, speaking about the holidays, "there was gathering together with family and friends in congregate settings indoors, obviously because of the weather in most parts of the country. And we went from a very high baseline level of infections to even a higher, and as we've seen over the past week and a half or so, since the ending of the holiday season, everything seems to be a record. We get daily cases that are between 2 and 300,000 a day. The other day, we had 4,111 deaths."
Don't Walk Into a Bar
"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," the the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told Kaiser Health News. "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 like this. 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."
Don't Sit Down Inside Restaurants Unless Accepting the Risk
Fauci hasn't eaten inside a restaurant since February. With everyone's mask off, and poor ventilation, it's a risk, and he's in the high-risk category, given that he's 80 years old. "Everything we've done is takeout," Fauci said of he and his wife's eating habits. "I'd like to get back to that kind of normality, just sort of reconnect, with the way things were when they were normal."
How to Survive This Pandemic
We can save lives if "individuals adhere uniformly, not in a spotty way, but uniformly to the public health measures that we talk about," says Fauci, "the uniform wearing of masks, avoiding congregate settings, indoor people congregating, keeping one's distance. I mean, obviously they sound very simple given the enormity of the problem, but we know that it does work, that when these, these public health measures have been implemented consistently, that you can get control of the surge." So follow them, 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.