Widespread vaccine availability has certainly helped to improve our defenses against COVID-19, but the pandemic is far from over. Until we achieve a high level of global vaccination or more consistent international safety measures, variants will continue to emerge in areas where the virus is allowed to spread. Let’s look at how to try dealing with large gatherings during a variant surge.
It’s a simple question of statistics. Every time the virus replicates, there’s a chance that a mutation will occur. If that happens more frequently, then there’s an increased risk that a successful variant will emerge. So far we have been lucky, as our vaccinations have remained effective against all emergent variants. Still, we do need to stay vigilant if we hope to eventually extinguish this virus before the creation of a far more dangerous variant.
With that being said, it has been a long time since the first lockdown. People from all walks of life are attempting to discover safe ways to enjoy their lives without the risk of adding to existing infection rates. In order to help you find your own path, we’ve compiled suggestions for dealing with larger gatherings during variant surges.
Whenever possible, you should limit larger gatherings to a relatively close network of people. These can be relatively easy to manage, as you likely already know who has been vaccinated, who works from home, and other information that is necessary to properly assess risk.
Potential superspreader events like stadium sporting events and large concerts don’t offer an individual any way to accurately assess risk. You should avoid them if possible. However, if you absolutely have to go, go to Path MD for same-day COVID testing in LA the day before your event. You should also get vaccinated, wear a mask, wash your hands, and avoid overly crowded areas whenever you can.
Public gatherings can vary in size, but they also don’t offer much information to the individual in regard to safety. The best you can do is to ask the event’s hosts about what safety precautions are being taken. You may ask them about the spacing between seats or tables, mask requirements, the availability of hand sanitizer, and whether or not they’re offering COVID testing for events on-site. In most cases, event hosts already have a safety document available to guests. It should provide this information in an easily digestible manner.
Any mask is better than no mask, but you may want to purchase a better mask before attending a large-scale event. Cloth and low-grade disposable medical masks do provide a physical barrier, but their protection is not absolute. Before going to a large event, consider purchasing an N95 or KN95 mask, which are both better at blocking microscopic droplets.
Outdoor events and restaurants are beginning to attract more people as vaccinations help to open more doors. However, you should still take extra precautions in high-risk areas where multiple groups enter a small space over time or regularly touch the same surfaces. This may include:
There exists a constant influx of new people in those spaces. So these prove areas where you more likely risk exposure to infection. As a result, you will want to limit the amount of time you spend in these spaces, wear a mask, and sanitize your hands after you leave.
Essentially, the advice hasn’t changed in over a year. We’ve opened more spaces and more events because people have the option of increasing their protection by being fully vaccinated. However, this protection is not absolute, and the delta variant is still working its way through unvaccinated populations at an alarming rate. This is not the time to be complacent. Instead, arm yourself with information, and act accordingly.