The Fourth of July weekend might be the first time you are gathering in a large group or traveling in more than a year and there are safety precautions you should consider -- especially if you have not been vaccinated for COVID-19.
Should You Be Concerned about COVID, Other People's Vaccination Status, and the Delta Variant during the Fourth of July?
Yes, depending on your vaccination status, says CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen. "For unvaccinated people, the risk of COVID-19 remains high," she stresses. "People who are unvaccinated should really only be with other unvaccinated people in outdoor settings. If there is only one unvaccinated person and everyone else is vaccinated -- for example, if there is an unvaccinated child but all the adults are vaccinated -- that's low risk. The risk becomes higher if there are unvaccinated people from multiple households mixing indoors." And if you have been fully vaccinated, there is much less risk and less to worry about. "Unless you are severely immunocompromised, you are well protected from getting COVID-19 -- including against the Delta variant. What you choose to do depends on your tolerance of risk. It's safest to get together outdoors; if you're indoors, it's also safe to be around others whom you trust to be fully vaccinated," she continues.
Does the Size of the Fourth of July Celebration Affect Your Potential Risk Level?
The expert says if you are outdoors and vaccinated, there is little to worry about. But if you are indoors, in a location with a lot of people, the risk increases. "The size of the gathering matters if you're concerned about the vaccination status of those attending... the larger the group, the harder it may be to trust that everyone is vaccinated...the bottom line is that it's not so much the size of the gathering that I'd worry about, but rather the vaccination status of attendees. That's unless it's outdoors, in which case it should be safe even for unvaccinated people to attend with other unvaccinated people," she explains.
How Should You Deal With People Wanting to Hug and Kiss When You're Not Ready For This Type of Interaction?
Dr. Wen says to be upfront and vocal with what you are comfortable with -- something The Doctors feel is always good advice when dealing with social interactions! "It's entirely fine to take a step back and explain that you're not quite ready to hug or kiss yet. Not everyone was comfortable with hugging or kissing -- especially people they don't know well -- before the pandemic. Emerging from Covid-19 is an opportunity to reset expectations in social interactions," she tells CNN. And if you consider yourself a hugger and feel the need to embrace others, she suggests asking the other person before you hug and to be comfortable with someone not being ready for it.
What about other safety concerns to consider during the holiday?
Avoid letting the heat take its toll on your health! Get The Doctors' tips on staying cool and beating the summer heat.
Are you drinking enough water? Learn about the surprising signs you might be dehydrated beyond feeling thirsty.