While it seemed like things were getting back to normal and COVID-19 was behind us, that’s not the reality. The virus has not been eradicated and we’re seeing an uptick of cases across the United States. In addition, we recently reached a grim new milestone of over 1 million American deaths that have been related to the virus. With more people getting infected daily, Dr. Bayo Curry-Winchell, Urgent Care Medical Director and Physician, Carbon Health and Saint Mary’s Hospital who has been treating COVID patients since the beginning, shares the latest on COVID and places to avoid in an effort to help prevent catching the virus. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Dr. Curry-Winchell says, “Right now, another surge is occurring throughout the United States. The new dominant strain is BA.212.1 and has shown to be approximately 30% more infectious (more contagious) than BA.2. Symptoms can vary from mild to moderate to severe requiring hospitalization. And a common myth is you can’t catch COVID more than one time. In fact, you can catch it more than once.”
“It’s because the new variants are easily transmitted,” Dr. Curry-Winchell states. “The chance of getting COVID if you are not vaccinated or vaccinated and not boosted are very high. The removal of mask guidelines has also allowed this new variant to easily spread causing new infections and re-infections.”
According to Dr. Curry-Winchell, “A study from the University of Bristol in England recently determined the coronavirus loses most of its ability to transmit from one person to another 20 minutes after becoming airborne. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the virus can survive up to 3 days on a nonporous surface.”
Dr. Curry-Winchell shares, “Indoor areas are not always well ventilated which can increase your contracting COVID. The more air that is available at your event or gathering can help reduce your risks from encountering the virus.”
Dr. Curry-Winchell reminds us, “If you are attending an event there is a chance you will be exposed to the virus due to the sheer volume of people in one area. Your risk can also increase based on the vaccination status of others which is often unknown at large gatherings.”
Dr. Curry-Winchell warns, “If you are attending an event such as a live show at the theater your risks of exposure to COVID could increase from yelling/shouting that often occurs with live theatre. Wearing a mask in a theater that is ventilated can help decrease your risks.”
Although mask mandates have been lifted, you might want to rethink wearing one to the store and anywhere else you’re around a lot of people since cases are on the rise. That said, “It is important to wear a N95 or K95 as a layer of protection from the new variants,” Dr. Curry-Winchell reminds us. “The traditional surgical mask is not protective against the new variants.”
You might want to put your gym membership on pause again. Dr. Curry-Winchell says, “Exercise is good for the soul and mind however it often involves heavy breathing. During the surge if exercising indoors wearing a K95 or N95 could decrease your risk of contracting the virus”.
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 maskdon’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’ don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more