Over the summer, many people opted to eat out, relying on alfresco dining to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as temperatures continue to drop in most of the country, outdoor dining will become increasingly difficult if not altogether impossible. So, should you enjoy a meal in the comfort of a restaurant? During an interview on Tuesday with the American Lung Association's podcast Lungcast, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading coronavirus expert, warned that if you do, you could be putting your health at risk. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
"There Is Some Degree of Aerosol Transmission"
Albert Rizzo, MD, Chief Medical Officer of the American Lung Association, asked Dr. Fauci about the recent controversy involving the CDC declaring COVID-19 airborne, then quickly retracting their statement. While the key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force admitted that he too was confused by the move, he did confirm that the virus does spread via the air.
"I just know that it is likely that there is some degree of aerosol transmission," he stated. "I don't know, to what extent it's responsible for transmissions. Maybe it accounts for 5%, 10%, 20%. I don't know, but I would be surprised if there was no aerosol in the transmission."
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Beware Of Indoor Dining
He then brought up a study published in July on the CDC's website, involving respiratory droplets being spread through a restaurant via air conditioning, infecting various families sitting well beyond six feet from one another.
"We know from circumstances like the very now well-known episode in a Chinese restaurant in China, in which people who were in a restaurant on the other side and never came into any contact with the person were having dinner, they got infected," he pointed out.
"Which means that the circulation of the air conditioner was probably recirculating something that stayed in the air for more than two seconds, because a few people got affected in that restaurant that weren't anywhere near the index case, who was infected."
In a recent Instagram Live conversation with HIV/AIDS-LGBTQ+ activist Peter Staley, Dr. Fauci suggested that restaurants should keep their windows open at all times. "I think anything that has airflow out, not airflow in the room," he said about how a restaurant could safely operate indoor dining.
How to Avoid COVID-19
As for yourself, think twice before entering a room or restaurant with poor ventilation, and do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear your face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.