SUNDAY, Oct. 18, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- As the weather gets cooler and social activities move indoors, Americans need to take steps to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, an expert says.
"We now know that if we are going to socialize with people who are not in our household -- or in our pandemic pod -- being outside or in a well-ventilated space is better than being inside without outside air circulation," said Lisa Lee, a public health expert at Virginia Tech University.
If you're planning indoor gatherings, keep the number of guests as low as possible, leave enough space to maintain 6 feet or more between people, and wear face coverings.
"These preventive measures are more important than ever because we know that recent COVID-19 cases are among younger people, who are less likely to have symptoms and might not even know that they are contagious," Lee said in a university news release.
"As families mix -- young with old, healthy with frail -- we will see more vulnerable people becoming infected and dying," she added. "Protect your grandparents by making sure everyone wears a mask."
As for fall traditions such as trick-or-treating on Halloween, visiting pumpkin patches and indoor haunted houses, Lee offered safety guidelines.
Avoid crowds, especially indoors; maintain social distancing; wash your hands often, and wear a face covering.
Consider replacing indoor activities with outdoor ones. For example, take a walk to look at the autumn colors; go for a hike; have a scavenger hunt, or visit a farm that offers fall hay rides. Plan ahead so you can avoid crowds, keep your distance and wear a mask, Lee said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19.
SOURCE: Virginia Tech, news release, Oct. 7, 2020