Dr. Fauci Wants You to Avoid Doing These 9 Things Right Now
The country's top health expert wouldn't do these things—and neither should you.
By this point, it's understandable if you find yourself going stir crazy. In fact, you probably started feeling that way weeks, maybe even months, ago. Now, it's the last few weeks of summer and you've been in some stage of lockdown for several months, living under restrictions regarding what you can and cannot do, and where you can and cannot go. And with more businesses open and social opportunities available to you than had been since the pandemic hit in March, the temptation to let your guard down and have some fun is hard to resist. But with COVID outbreaks still happening around the United States and cases starting to rise in places that thought they had the coronavirus contained, it's more important than ever to exercise caution—for your own safety, as well as for the safety for those around you. With that in mind, we've gathered a list of things that the country's top health expert says put you at an increased risk of spreading coronavirus. Read on to see 9 things that Anthony Fauci, MD, wants you to avoid doing right now. And for more insight from the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), check out Dr. Fauci's New Warning for States Where the "Level of Virus Is So High".
Going to indoor gatherings
Thinking of hosting or attending a party in the near future? Experts agree that's probably not the best idea.
In a new interview with the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on Aug. 3, Dr. Fauci addressed the likelihood of airborne transmission of the coronavirus, which he says warrants serious consideration. "We need to pay a little bit more attention now to the recirculation of air indoors," Fauci told JAMA. "Mask-wearing indoors when you're in a situation like that is something that is as important as wearing masks when you're outside dealing with individuals who you don't know where they came from or who they are."
Indoor gatherings, whether at home or elsewhere, have increased in many places as people become more lax with their safety precautions. And according to one Harvard health expert, they pose a serious threat in states like Massachusetts, which previously had the coronavirus under control. "The more we learn about [COVID-19], we are really learning that indoor gatherings are the massive risk factor," Ashish Jha, MD, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI), said during a call with press on Aug. 3. "People have let their guard down, thinking it is totally fine to have 20 people over on a Saturday afternoon—and it probably isn't."
Attending crowded outdoor gatherings
While generally speaking, outdoor activities are far safer than indoor ones, being outside doesn't automatically mean you're protected against coronavirus transmission."When you have crowds of people together and you have the lack of wearing a mask, that increases the risk of there being transmissibility. I have no doubt about that," Fauci told CNBC back in June.
Based on recent events, it seems like people could use a reminder that Fauci's statement remains every bit as true today. An outdoor concert in the Hamptons in New York, a 700-person gathering at a New Jersey Airbnb, and people gathering in large groups on boats and other outdoor spaces in Rhode Island have all drawn criticism from local and national officials. And for more on the spread of coronavirus, Dr. Fauci Says These Are the COVID Numbers We Should See by the Fall.
Going to a bar
Fauci has been nothing if not adamant in his opinion about going to bars right now. Not only do your local watering holes tend to draw crowds of people—often ones with lower inhibitions due to alcohol consumption—they frequently lack adequate ventilation. They really are the perfect storm for spreading COVID.
"We need to really take seriously the issue of wearing masks all the time and not congregating in bars," Fauci explained in a July interview with InStyle. "I think we can stop that by just closing [bars] because they are certainly an important mechanism of this spread." In other words, just because bars in your area are open doesn't necessarily mean they're safe. And for more advice from the coronavirus expert, check out these 13 Tips From Dr. Fauci on How You Can Avoid Coronavirus.
Eating at a restaurant
It's great to support your favorite local restaurants and you definitely should, but maybe consider sticking to takeout for a while longer—or, at the very least, opt for outdoor seating. "If you're going to go to a restaurant, try as best as you can to have outdoor seating that is properly spaced between the tables," Fauci told MarketWatch on July 24, naming restaurants as one of the two places he personally would not visit right now.
Getting on a plane
In-house dining isn't the only activity Fauci's adamant about avoiding right now. Where's the other potential transmission hub on his no-go list? Airplanes.
"I spend half a day in my office trying to develop a vaccine and drugs for COVID-19, and that's really what I need to do," Fauci said in the interview with MarketWatch. "I don't fancy seeing myself getting infected, which is a risk when you're getting on a plane, particularly with the amount of infection that's going on right now." And for more on air travel, Watch What Happens When You Refuse to Wear a Face Mask on an Airplane.
Using public transportation
For some, riding the subway or taking a bus is an unavoidable part of daily life. But if that's not the case for you, then it's best to avoid public transportation right now—especially if you are in your later years in life. "I'm 79 years old," Fauci said in an interview with The Washington Post in July. "No Metro, no public transportation. I'm in a high risk group, and I don't want to play around."
Going to the gym
In the same interview with The Washington Post, Fauci named going to the gym as another activity he views as unwise. And even though some studies suggest that gyms aren't as dangerous as we previously thought, the risk you put yourself at by going to one is still high. "I don't want to take a chance," Fauci told the Post. Besides, there are plenty of ways to get in a good workout at home or outside. Hitting the gym can wait for now.
Many experts, including both Fauci and Jha, have said small outdoor gatherings are probably pretty safe—you just have to do it right. Explaining to The Washington Post on how he and his wife go about having friends over for dinner on occasion, Fauci said, "We don't share anything. There are no common bowls. Each person has his or her own receptacle. Some people even bring their own glasses. We always do takeout and I tell the takeout people that I want the food in four separate plastic containers, so no one has to touch anyone else's food." Fauci also noted that all gatherings are done strictly outside—and if the weather doesn't permit, the party's canceled.
You probably haven't shaken anyone's hand in what seems like forever at this point. While it may seem obvious that you should continue avoiding any touch-based greetings, that's precisely why it bears repeating. After all, people knew house parties and large outdoor gatherings were a bad idea, but that didn't stop those things from happening.
"I think it's going to be a while," Fauci told The Washington Post when asked if he'd ever shake hands with someone again. "The infection rate will have to be extremely low or nonexistent, or we have to have a vaccine. Right now, I don't even think about doing it." And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.