Coronavirus expert shares tips for safe Fourth of July

Posted July 3, 2020 11:36 p.m. EDT
Updated July 4, 2020 4:01 p.m. EDT

— With the virus accelerating across the country, many of you may be wondering if it is safe to attend a BBQ with family and friends during the July 4th holiday weekend or is it better to stay at home.

Fourth of July will look much different this year, and for many, that is a harsh reality. However, experts say there is a way to celebrate safely, and it all begins with assessing your risk level and those around you.

“I am worried that there will be a spike after this weekend," said Dr. Rachel Roper, a coronavirus expert. "The more people you have out, the more people you have in contact with others, the more likely we are to have big virus spread and spikes we’re seeing now.”

When preparing for a BBQ or large gathering for the Fourth of July weekend, experts want to remind people that COVID-19 cases are on the rise and it’s not slowing down anytime soon.

“No one is really safe," Roper said. "Everyone should be really careful.”

Their hope is that families do what they can this weekend to prevent contracting the virus.

“If you have underlying heart disease or respiratory problems or if you are obese," Roper said. "And 40 % of Americans are obese, and that puts you in a high-risk category. So, think about your age and your risk factors to evaluate how careful you want to be.”

So when it comes to gathering around the table this weekend, do it safely. Roper said to first assess your own risk and the risk of those you’re bringing into your home.

“Think about the exposure they have," Roper said. "Are they being careful and staying at home and wearing masks? The more people you’re with, the more likely you are to catch the virus.”

Experts suggest having smaller groups of people when celebrating this year and sticking to outdoor activities.

“It’s much more safe if you’re outside then if you’re inside," Roper said. "Because if you’re inside, if someone is infected, they will be exhaling that virus continuously and that virus will accumulate in the air inside the room. If you’re outside with good air circulation, with good air blowing, even a little breeze, the virus will dissipate.”

Other advise to keep your family safe by wearing a mask when possible, keep a good distance between others, wash your hands often and don’t share food or utensils.

“If everybody has their own plate and their own utensil, that’s the best thing," Roper said. "You do not want one big spoon in a salad that everyone touches the same spoon. It would be best if one person could serve the food and give it to people and that way you don’t have a large number of people touching the same item.”

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