COVID-19 warning: Bay Area doctors advise staying home Labor Day weekend

Nationwide, cases went up following the Memorial Day and Fourth of July weekends.

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ByChris Nguyen KGO logo
Thursday, September 3, 2020
Bay Area doctors advise staying home Labor Day weekend
As we prepare to head into the holiday weekend, health experts across the country say what happens during the Labor Day stretch could be essential for containing COVID-19 this fall.

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Labor Day weekend is often referred to as the unofficial end of the summer season, but with the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, this year will look different.

"It's really changed life the way it is," Jaime Santos from San Jose said. "It's not the same anymore."

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Some wonder how others plan to celebrate, including Jaime Santos, who says he would normally head to the beach or barbecue with friends.

"A lot of people are afraid to be around other people because you don't know who's infected and who's not, and who's been exposed and who hasn't," he said.

Nationwide, cases went up following the Memorial Day and Fourth of July weekends.

In Santa Clara County, health officials are concerned about a potential spike if residents don't do their part in the coming days to reduce risk.

"Everything always builds on itself, and so the more cases you have, then the more cases you'll have to fight to prevent later on," explained Santa Clara County Deputy Health Officer, Dr. George Han.

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Experts say the best thing for people to do is to stay at home.

"People really still need to be very, very careful and this is a very deadly virus," Prof. Dean Winslow from Stanford School of Medicine said.

But for those who decide to gather, doing it outdoors will be essential with proper social distancing and wearing face coverings.

"Outdoors, these small particles are defused fairly quickly, usually by the free movement of air and they're just diluted," Winslow said.

"Whereas, in the indoor environment, these small particle aerosols have been shown to stay suspended in the air for up to three to four hours or so," he said.

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And if you're hosting an event at home, the experts say resist the urge to mingle with others in the kitchen or the living room.

"The question is, do people feel vulnerable enough to control their impulses for safety sake? And for a lot of people, it's just really hard. They don't feel as though they're particularly vulnerable," explained Prof. Thomas Plante from Santa Clara University Psychology Dept.

Each member of the community bears personal responsibility.

"The virus is still here, it's still circulating widely, and now's not the time to let your guard down," Dr. Han said.

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