Every day, more and more people receive COVID-19 vaccinations. By late summer or early fall 2021, most social activities, like going to the movies or eating in a restaurant should return to something close to normal. There is the light at the end of the tunnel, it seems, though there are precautions we still should take to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Though the vaccinated population rises each day, everyone should continue to follow the three-pronged prevention plan set forth by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC): wear a mask, social distance and avoid large crowds. This guidance will help ensure viral spread is limited and COVID-19 vaccinations continue.
Continue to Follow CDC Recommendations
CDC recommendations are simple to follow and are highly effective, as long as the guidelines are adhered to. Remember to wear your mask properly by covering both your mouth and nose. Everyone 2 years old and above should wear a mask in public, and, as of February 2, 2021, must wear a mask on all public forms of transportation, including trains, planes and buses. Masks are also mandated on federal property, including national parks and monuments.
Some experts, including the CDC, suggest double masking to further protect yourself and others from infection. Tight-fitting, multi-layer masks provide greater protection against respiratory droplets, according to the latest research. Respiratory droplets are the main source of disease transmission.
Avoiding large crowds and poorly ventilated buildings and office spaces remains an important step in stopping the spread. As we approach the spring, some venues are expanding the number of patrons permissible in closed spaces, like restaurants, bars and sporting events. Regardless, clinicians advise sidestepping such settings if you cannot remain more than six feet away from others. The World Health Organization (WHO) calls this “avoiding the 3Cs”: closed, crowded places where close contact with others is probable.
Take Care of Yourself
Our shared isolation, including repeated stay-at-home orders, limited holidays and distance from relatives and friends, has caused many people to suffer from symptoms of anxiety and depression. Severe symptoms may require medical intervention, so talk to a doctor before any self-treatment.
Experts recommend finding ways to alleviate symptoms, such as exercise and mediation. Certain natural remedies, like CBD gummies, might also help relax nerves and help individuals better focus on tasks. Reaching out to friends and family through technology – conferencing programs, text and phone calls – can also help you stay connected.
New Quarantine Advice to Follow
One of the biggest changes recently regarding COVID-19 precautions is the recommended length of time individuals should quarantine after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. While the CDC still advises individuals to quarantine for at least 14 days, it has added that in some circumstances, a 10-day quarantine may be enough.
If the person quarantining shows no signs of the virus after 10 days, they may elect to end their quarantine. Remember, though, that infection is still possible, though the chances are somewhere between 1 percent and 10 percent. Extra precautions may be necessary for the days following the end of a 10-day quarantine.
If the person quarantining tests negative for COVID-19 after seven days, they may also end their isolation. Tests must be conducted 48 hours prior to any planned discontinuation however. In other words, if a test is conducted on day six, the person cannot end their quarantine until day eight after a negative test result.
Know Your State Guidelines
Many new COVID-19 precautions come from state-level rules and regulations, so it is important what recommendations your state and local public health officials suggest. Knowing what alert level your county is colored is one example. Even with vaccine distribution in full force, many counties across several states remain red, urging citizens to take all necessary precautions to stem the spread.
Local governments are lifting Covid curfews, as well, though many remain in effect. Check online resources or call local officials to double check where your city or two stands. Curfews could affect travel and work schedules.
The end of the global COVID-19 pandemic is nearing its end, though aspects of our shared year in quarantine will likely stay with us for a long time. Following recommended precautions can help ensure we stay healthy until we’re in that new normal.