Stay at home orders have started to lift across many regions, leaving people wondering—is it safe to see friends and family now? We know everyone is eager to see their loved ones, but it’s important to remember that it’s still risky to see people, even if you’re healthy and no longer being asked to stay home.
Once a vaccine becomes available this will become less complicated, but until then, seeing people won’t be without risk. For now, the best way to stay healthy is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The novel coronavirus is transmitted through small respiratory droplets when we come into contact with others who are infected, so there will always be a risk of transmission when you spend time with someone.
That said, there are some factors to keep in mind to stay safe if you do start to see people. Here’s what you need to know:
Remember that some people are at higher risk for COVID-19 complications
People with compromised immune systems and people above age 65 are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, so it’s important to be very cautious about seeing people from these groups, as well as people with other health conditions. Consider having a conversation with your loved ones to involve them in your decision and see how they feel.
If you want to see someone from one of these groups but don’t live with them, rather than meeting in-person, a phone call or video chat may be a better option for now. If you do live with someone who’s at higher risk of COVID-19, take extra precautions like washing your hands frequently and not inviting guests into your home if you don’t have to—especially if your family member at risk is not comfortable with it.
Consider seeing people outdoors
We still have a lot to learn about the novel coronavirus, but early research findings show that the virus is more likely to spread in indoor settings than outdoors. With this in mind, it may be safer to see friends and families in a park, backyard, or another outdoor setting rather than meeting in someone’s home or in a restaurant. But remember that the disease can still be transmitted, even outside, so it’s still important to wear a mask, keep a safe distance (at least 6 feet), wash your hands frequently, and follow other recommendations from health officials.
Large gatherings aren’t a good idea just yet
The novel coronavirus is highly contagious, so the more people you are around, the higher the risk of virus transmission. Some people could have the virus even if they’re not showing any symptoms, so with any large gathering there’s always the chance of a lot of people getting sick. Instead of putting yourself and others at such a risk, stick with smaller gatherings for now.
If you would like to meet with a knowledgeable doctor, consider contacting Arizona OB/GYN Affiliates (AOA) at 602-343-6174 or visit www.aoafamily.com. We have offices in Phoenix, Ahwatukee, Casa Grande, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Gilbert, and Chandler.