Dr. Fauci Is Begging You to Do This "As Much As You Possibly Can" Right Now
The nation's top immunologist advises this is the best place to be amid coronavirus.
As the coronavirus continues to spread across the country, public health officials are voicing concern about what's to come in September and beyond, when the dreaded flu season begins and the cooler weather tends to bring more people indoors. But until it gets too cold to do so, the nation's top immunologist has some simple advice for combatting COVID's spread: go outside. According to Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), you should "get as much outdoors as you possibly can" right now.
Fauci implored people to go outside during a Facetime Live conversation with Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo. The reason? Viruses of all sorts spread more easily inside, which Fauci referenced in the context of reopening schools safely, but certainly applies elsewhere as well.
Research has consistently shown that any indoor setting is among the riskiest places to contract COVID-19, especially highly trafficked and poorly ventilated spaces like bars, restaurants, and possibly even school classrooms. For example, a May study from Japan's National Institute of Infectious Diseases, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, looked at 110 COVID-19 cases across 11 outbreaks. The researchers found that "the odds that a primary case transmitted COVID-19 in a closed environment was 18.7 times greater compared to an open-air environment."
"If you look at the superspreader events that have occurred… they're almost always inside," Fauci told Raimondo. In fact, a June assessment from the Covid-19 Superspreading Events Database found that 97 percent of superspreader events (SSEs) happen indoors. "With few exceptions, almost all of the SSEs took place indoors, where people tend to pack closer together in social situations, and where ventilation is poorer," said Jonathan Kay, who compiled the database for Quillette.
Fauci cited a number of indoor superspreader events that have led to sharp spikes in COVID-19 cases in "nursing homes, meatpacking [plants], prisons, choirs in churches, congregations of weddings, and other social events where people get together."
Regarding safe environments for school classrooms, Fauci repeated his mantra: "Outdoor is always better than indoors." He then added that "good ventilation" and keeping "the windows open if the weather permits" are key.
Nearly six months into the pandemic, there has been very little evidence of the virus spreading among people outdoors. Zeke Emanuel, MD, told Morning Joe in late May that there are "very few cases of transmission documented outside." "If you're going outside, and you are socially distanced and are wearing a face mask, it should not be a concern," he explained. "What we know is that spread is most common when you're inside for a while, breathing air, and the ventilation is not up to snuff."
While Fauci cautioned in his conversation with Raimondo that "you've got to be careful everywhere," he urged people to take advantage of the great outdoors right now. "When I see people out on a beach running with nobody around them—good for you! Do it! You don't need to be locked down outside," he said.
He even said that if you're outdoors and only with members of your household, then it's actually okay to go maskless. "If you're walking with your dog or your wife or husband or somebody that you're in the house with anyway, and you're not going to stay separated from them, then just do it," Fauci said of taking your mask off.
However, "[if] 50 yards ahead, I see someone coming, I go like that," he said, gesturing pulling up a mask over his mouth and nose. "You can do that!" And for more from Fauci, check out Dr. Fauci Just Confirmed That This One Thing Kills Coronavirus.