Welcome to another installment of the Get Ready Mailbag, when we take time to answer questions sent our way by readers like you! Have a question you want answered? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: People on the news are going to restaurants, beaches and hair salons. Why I am still sitting inside? I’m ready to quit this and go back out!
A: We hear you: Staying at home to protect yourself from coronavirus isn’t fun. So it’s easy to be envious of those who are out and about. In some states, people are going out because elected leaders have decided that the risk from COVID-19 there has dropped enough to do so. But the list of places people in those states are allowed to go is still very limited.
Even in states that haven’t eased their safety recommendations, some people are deciding to go against advice and venture out. That’s relatable — as we’re all going a little stir crazy — but it’s not OK. Spending time in close contact with people outside your household is not a good idea yet, especially if you live in an area where cases of coronavirus are still increasing. (And even if they’re not, that can change quickly.)
The best thing to do is wait for health officials where you live to say it’s alright to go out and socialize again. They will know if the risk has fallen enough where you live and advise you on what you can do safely. Be sure to follow recommendations from actual public health and medical officials — not your friends, not political figures and not some TV talking head. Trustworthy sources of information include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and your state or local health department.
When health officials do say it’s safe to stop saying home, you should still use your best judgment. If you’re someone who is older, or has diseases like diabetes or asthma, you will need to decide if it’s worth it, as you’re more likely to die or get very sick from COVID-19. And even if you don’t have those conditions, you can still pass coronavirus to someone you care about — like your family — without even knowing you have the disease.
Remember, even when cases of COVID-19 do fall and people start coming together again, the disease is not going away. So keep washing those hands, cleaning regularly, covering your sneezes and coughs, and wearing masks. When it comes to COVID-19, it’s better to have cautions than regrets.