CLEVELAND – Memorial Day weekend is finally here. And you can bet a lot of people will be out celebrating, especially since masks are no longer required for those who’ve been vaccinated.
But Frank Esper, MD, an infectious disease specialist with Cleveland Clinic Children’s, said you still need to be careful.
“I think everyone should be a little more relieved about how well things are going. Virus levels are going down, the hospitalization rates are going down. But they’re not zero and there’s still a substantial amount of this virus that’s out in the community both here as well as elsewhere around the United States,” said Dr. Esper.
He said it’s important to remember not everyone is vaccinated yet.
So what can you do to stay safe while celebrating this weekend? He advises making sure any festivities you have planned are outdoors. That way the risk for transmission of COVID-19 remains low. You should also try to avoid big crowds and food served buffet-style.
As for those who are not vaccinated, the CDC still requires those individuals to wear a mask. They should continue to practice social distancing as well.
Dr. Esper said it’s possible there may be a rise in cases as restrictions continue to ease, but he doesn’t think it will be nearly as bad as previous waves since more people are vaccinated now.
“We don’t expect that it’s just going to be able to explode like it did in November, December and January or in the previous waves before that. This virus is now being hampered by a bunch of people who are vaccinated and are protected. We are going to be able to hold this virus at bay, preventing it from overwhelming the cities, the counties and the hospitals,” said Dr. Esper.
If you’re planning to travel this weekend, make sure you have your mask ready. The CDC still requires them on planes, buses and trains, regardless of whether you are vaccinated or not.