Health experts urge COVID-19 precautions at outdoor events

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Published: Sep. 12, 2021 at 6:55 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - This fall, health experts are urging those vaccinated against COVID-19 to take extra precautions, even outdoors, to protect themselves against the Delta variant.

The CDC released new guidance on July 27th saying that even people vaccinated against COVID-19 should wear masks and social distance while indoors in public settings.

The recommendations changed amid the surging Delta variant, and health experts say taking extra precautions on top of getting vaccinated is necessary to protect individuals and their families against the variant.

For unvaccinated people, doctors advise against going to big events.

“Now in the times of delta and when it’s so widespread, as it is now for an unvaccinated person, the risk is so high that most activities are probably not safe,” said infectious disease expert Dr. Helmut Albrecht of Prisma Health.

Albrecht says there are multiple factors to consider when thinking about attending events amid the Delta variant surge. Those factors include your age, underlying medical conditions, and members of your family or friends that you’ll be around who may have health conditions.

Even for those vaccinated, the precautions are still needed, he says.

“That includes outdoor events, that includes large gatherings in an outdoor setting. It includes, again, indoor dining. So, if you’re not vaccinated, this is probably not safe,” said Albrecht.

Doctors say interactions at large outdoor events like football games can cause infection.

“So, if you’re outdoors, and you’re shoulder to shoulder, or you’re in a group of huffing and puffing people, trust me. Delta variant can spread to you, and you can spread the Delta variant to other people,” said Albrecht.

For vaccinated people, making the decision to attend big events is a little easier as they’re more protected against the virus, but Albrecht says that doesn’t replace the commonsense practices of masking up and social distancing.

“If you cannot control this situation, it’s probably not a safe situation even outdoors,” said Albrecht. “Your infection may create up to 400, additional cases in the next month. So, we will have to control this.”

Doctors say protecting those around us who are unable to get vaccinated, like children and people with underlying health conditions, can be done by making sure all around them are vaccinated.

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