Although many of us would like to believe the COVID-19 pandemic is over, the novel coronavirus continues to present a very real threat. Additionally, with millions of Americans refusing to get vaccinated, a true return to normalcy is still a ways off. To make matters worse, more infectious and aggressive variants of COVID-19 are becoming increasingly prevalent across the U.S. The Delta variant, in particular, accounts for a significant percentage of new cases. In the interest of keeping yourself and the people around you safe from these variants, put the following pointers to good use.
When it comes to protecting yourself from COVID-19 and its many variants, getting vaccinated at your earliest possible convenience is the most effective step you can take. While it’s true that some people suffer from medical conditions that preclude them from vaccination, you have no excuse to not get vaccinated if you aren’t among them. In stark contrast to virtually everything else health care-related in the U.S., COVID-19 vaccines are available free of charge. Furthermore, no matter where you’re based, finding a place to get vaccinated shouldn’t prove challenging. Given the broad number of medical facilities, clinics and pharmacies that are administering COVID-19 vaccines, odds are you won’t have to travel very far to get your shots.
It’s important to note, however, that vaccination should not be regarded as a magical end-all defense against COVID-19. As is the case with every vaccine, breakthrough cases have been known to occur, but the overwhelming majority of these cases are neither serious nor fatal. So, while being fully vaccinated will provide you with a high level of protection, you should still take common sense precautions and avoid unnecessary risks.
Toward the beginning of summer, many states and businesses began relaxing their mask guidelines – and in some cases, doing away with them altogether. As it turns out, they were acting prematurely. Although this was meant to incentivize people to get vaccinated, the people who decried the virus as a “hoax” and lamented having to cooperate with safety guidelines were more than happy to remove their masks despite not being vaccinated. Such behavior is in no small part to blame for the enormous surge in new infections and the prevalence of deadly new variants.
Regardless of whether or not your state or the businesses you frequent still have masking rules in place, make a point of masking up whenever you’re out in public, even if you’re fully vaccinated. This will provide you with an additional layer of protection against infection and help prevent you from potentially passing the virus on to others.
If you don’t want to risk infection by venturing out into large public settings, consider taking care of certain errands remotely. For example, many grocery stores are offering free curbside pickup to customers who do their shopping online. If you’re unclear on whether your preferred food stores are offering such a service, check their respective websites or simply give them a call. You can even engage in remote doctor visits and obtain online prescriptions.
Although many of us had hoped that the ready availability of vaccines would herald a true return to normalcy, too many Americans remain unvaccinated for this dream to take shape. So, while it would be nice to once again attend parties, eat at crowded restaurants or engage in other large group activities, now simply isn’t the time. You never know how many people at a certain gathering or crowded business have been fully vaccinated, and given how many Americans have yet to get vaxxed, it’s safe to assume that a fair number of them aren’t.
For over 18 months, the active threat presented by the novel coronavirus has impacted virtually every facet of our daily lives. Although many of us spent a full year eagerly anticipating the arrival of vaccines, millions of people’s refusal to get vaccinated has only served to prolong the pandemic and give rise to new COVID-19 variants. While the emergence of these variants is certainly troubling, protecting yourself from them doesn’t have to be an uphill battle. Taking the measures discussed above can prove tremendously helpful in your efforts to steer clear of COVID-19 and its growing number of variants.