As the holiday weekend quickly approaches, an infectious disease doctor said we could be looking at “the perfect storm” for a spike in new cases.
“It's set up a perfect storm: the combination of travel, the combination of reopening —perhaps in some cases, too early — and the combination of people not necessarily following some of these preventive guidelines,” Dr. Joshua Barocas, an infectious disease physician at Boston Medical Center, said during a Wednesday briefing held by the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
Barocas said after Memorial Day, some places around the country saw a spike in cases.
“I'm very concerned, especially given this coming weekend that the same types of spikes, the same types of surges could be seen - not just in the places that are currently experiencing surges, but in places that have already experienced surges and in ones that haven't yet,” he said.
Dr. Ricardo Franco, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said “this surge in our prolonged first wave of infections, it's very difficult to predict what might happen and the Fourth of July weekend could play a big role in this.”
Reiterating what Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said on Tuesday, Franco said bars are a no-go.
“If you have bars, you have music. If you have music, you want to socialize. And you want to speak louder than usual so you can overcome the background noise.” All those factors can increase the spread, Franco added.
Here are Barocas' recommendations to stay safe this holiday weekend:
- Barocas is encouraging people to stick to outdoor activities that don’t require congregating in large groups – things like kicking a ball back and forth, flying a kite or biking.
- This weekend it’s especially important that Americans – if they must – congregate with friends and families outdoors and remain physically distant, he said. And above all, “avoid sharing items,” he added.
- “I would urge people to not share food or drinks with others outside of your household, this is something we oftentimes forget. Bring your own sunscreen. Bring your own bug spray,” Barocas said.
- Wearing a mask is also very important this holiday weekend, Barocas said, and the reason is threefold.