By Deepthi Sathya
Fourth of July, one of the most memorable events of the year, is going to look very different this year. In the past four months, many states have closed schools and temporarily shuttered local businesses as a way to keep people safe. Children have been learning in a virtual environment. After months of social distancing, summer is a tempting time to start going out again and spend time on beaches. However, we must remember that we are still in the middle of a pandemic.
Many counties in states including New York and Connecticut have cancelled their 4th of July firework shows, in fear of large gatherings in a public place. Additionally, due to the spike in cases in the last week of June, many have become reluctant to go out even if states have reduced quarantine measures. Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has advised the young adult population to take precaution, as 40% of the new cases have infected young adults.
Medical experts have advocated for social distancing during any form of celebration this 4th of July. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, has said that “for the Fourth of July, which is a family event, we want to emphasize that it’s really important that we get back to being vigilant as our collective commitment…to protect vulnerable friends, family community.” Dr. Lori Rolando of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center advised everyone to carry a mask and use them while in public. These measures are critical to help contain a second wave of the pandemic.
Here are some simple tips to help keep you and those around you safe this 4th of July.
- Even if some counties will continue to hold fireworks, social distancing should still be followed. Keep an approximate six feet distance between you and others around you.
- Many cities are encouraging residents to watch fireworks from home, so as to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in crowds.
- Wearing a mask when attending large gatherings is key to keeping yourself and everyone around you safe.
- If fireworks are cancelled, people are encouraged to take part virtually through live-stream.
- Stay away from crowded areas, like beaches or very large gatherings, as the chances of spreading the virus increase.
- If traveling, learn about infection rates in the states and any restrictions.
Since the virus can be transmitted asymptomatically, the risk increases in large gatherings. We need to remember that the pandemic is not over. There is a higher risk of a second wave if we do not follow safety measures. As a community, we can do our part to stay safe. This year, 4th of July festivities are going to look very different, but it is important to continue to follow the CDC’s guidelines for keeping safe during COVID-19. For you and the people around, take extra precaution during this holiday.