Doctors warn against gatherings among the unvaccinated ahead of July 4th

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- We are just one week away from Independence Day and to many, the week ahead is one filled with traveling and vacations. While we are in much better shape with the pandemic, doctors are sending out strong warnings against unvaccinated individuals gathering together.

Along the Embarcadero Sunday afternoon friends could be seen having wine together, families out for a maskless stroll and lovers holding hands. With the July 4th holiday right around the corner, these gatherings are likely to be even larger as we near Independence Day, hence the warning from doctors.

"Leaving aside elementary school children, you don't want unvaccinated people congregating together in situations in which rapid transmission can occur and that's happened here in the Bay Area," says Dr. George Rutherford of UCSF.

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Rutherford says if you're vaccinated you can do pretty much do what you've done in past pre-pandemic years. And many ABC7 talked with aren't waiting around, many who say they have been vaccinated.

"I don't want to be with people who aren't vaccinated," said Angel Lee of Westlake Village, California.

"Tomorrow we're getting together at my place for a barbecue and going to the pool," said James Gregg

"I got my sister in from Florida and we're just really happy to be with family again. It's been a long time, two years," said one Pacifica resident.

Even the kids are excited about the upcoming July 4th holiday.

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"In Virginia there would be so many fireworks, even when I go to bed I can still hear them going on and on it's really fun," said 8-year-old Hope Melville.

"I've never seen colored fireworks, I've heard them in San Francisco," said 7-year-old Emerson Yelland.

Dr. Rutherford says families like this with children 11 and under, who aren't yet eligible for the vaccine, need to be careful. He went on to recommend that those kids play outside when families get together for the holiday.

"But if you're indoors, they're congregating indoors, then that becomes a potential for transmission and they need to be wearing masks if they're around lots of other people who are unvaccinated," Dr. Rutherford said.

ABC7 asked Dr. Rutherford if he believes we'll see a surge of COVID-19 cases after July 4th holiday. He says he is doubtful of that happening here in the Bay Area where vaccination rates are extremely high.

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