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CHICAGO (CBS) — With the holiday weekend upon us along with a surge in COVID-19 cases, we’re all asking the same questions: Should we gather? and if we do, should it be outside? and what about masks?
CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot talks to an expert to get some answers.
“Now we’ve moved into the high risk and high risk means we have more people hospitalized related to COVID infection.”
Dr. Susan Bleasdale is an infectious disease specialist at UI Health.
“There have been deaths, but they have not yet been to the same level that we’ve seen earlier in the pandemic,” she said.
Bleasdale says the new subvariant of the omicron virus is highly transmissible.
Le Mignot: People have three-day, four-day weekends planned. Should people celebrate outside, should they stay inside? If they plan to be outside or inside, should people be wearing masks inside and outside?
Bleasdale: Outside is better than inside. It doesn’t make your risk zero, but it does decrease your risk if you’re outside versus inside. Inside, consider wearing a mask, if individuals are high risk, if they haven’t been vaccinated.
When it comes to catching a game at a ballpark or enjoying an outdoor concert, or Memorial Day weekend gatherings Bleasdale says:
“You might choose to wear a mask even in those very large-crowded areas, again, even if it’s outdoors, you know, an example might be a sports venue, that’s lower risk, but if you’re seated next to someone, you know, you might consider wearing a mask, even outside, just to help minimize that risk for yourself, right now, while these levels are very high.”
Bleasdale says to call your doctor if you test positive to see if you need treatment. She says right now there is an anti-viral pill and a monoclonal antibody that is effective against the current variant, which can decrease a person’s risk for hospitalization.
Dr. Bleasdale also says transmission of the virus is highest when people have their masks down and gather to share a meal. She says that’s the time when people should social distance.