Health experts: keep guard up as bars re-open

Posted at 6:31 PM, Sep 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-11 18:39:59-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — The fight against COVID-19 is not over. Newly released numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows there’s still a long way to go. They’re saying in addition to the 180,000 lives lost to the virus, 20,000 more could be next.

As bars re-open at half capacity next week, health experts advise you to have a plan in place before taking your first sip.

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s announcement came as good news for Southwest Florida bars like Ollie’s Pub and Celsius Night club. But another warning sign to health experts like Robert Hawkes.

“We certainly don’t want to see the spike that may result from this,” he said.

Hawkes runs the physician assistant program at Florida Gulf Coast University. He says before going to bars, before having that first drink, be aware of scenarios that may arise.

“These environments tend to get loud, people tend to get closer together, so they can talk to them. That’s only putting them within a few feet distance,” he said. “That’s where the air droplets are going to spread much more easily.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects somewhere between 3,300 and 8,000 new deaths to be reported the first week of October, potentially bringing the nation’s total death toll to 217,000.

“They’re not as high as what was initially projected certainly last spring. So, I think we’re probably doing well. But, I think it’s too early to say this is done or we want to be relaxed,” said Hawkes.

The CDC projects starting next month as many 6,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations nationwide per day. That could be challenging given flu season starts to pick up around then. So, they’re urging you to be careful, and do not let your guard down.