Dr. Fauci: Eating and drinking indoors is still not okay

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On the whole, we have been getting a lot of good news regarding COVID-19 vaccine numbers. Many of us are allowing ourselves the first sense of hope we’ve had in a long time. However, now is the time to stay diligent in our precautions because although the vaccine is a huge step in prevention, it is not a failsafe. The US has moved forward but has not returned to normal. While speaking with Mehdi Hasan on MSNBC on Monday, our fearless medical leader, Dr. Anthony Fauci, gave a bit of a state of the union as it pertains to the virus. One of the big take-aways was Dr. Fauci is still advising against eating and drinking inside due to crowding and maskless, non-vaccinated patrons who can still spread the virus.

Medhi Hasan: Eating and drinking indoors in restaurants and bars. Is that okay now?

Dr. Anthony Fauci: No, it’s still not okay, for the simple reason that the level of infection, the dynamics of infection in the community are still really disturbingly high. Like yesterday there were close to 80,000 new infections and we’ve been hanging around 60, 70 seventy-five thousand. So if you’re not vaccinated, please get vaccinated as soon as vaccine becomes available to you. And if you are vaccinated, please remember that you still have to be careful and not get involved in crowded situations, particularly indoors, where people are not wearing masks. And for the time being until we show definitively that a person who’s vaccinated does not get the subclinical infection and can spread to others, you should also continue to wear a mask for the time being.

[From Yahoo!]

As will shock no one, a bunch of conservatives got furious at Fauci advising caution and called for him to be fired. But these right-wing reactionists are exactly why Fauci is making these recommendations. All he is actually advising is that people still use caution when out in public. He told people specifically to “not get involved in crowded situations, particularly indoors, where people are not wearing masks.” If the population could be trusted to keep their masks on and stick to a lower percentage occupancies to ensure proper distancing, Fauci wouldn’t have to issue these warnings. We’ve gotten used to thinking that vaccines are some form of invisible force field because they have proven so effective against so many diseases. But Fauci is erring on the side of caution because this virus and its recovery are still unknown. Ii makes sense that as long as the virus can still spread, and while we are learning about the new variants, we take as few risks as necessary. A beer in a crowded bar is just not necessary, no matter how much we want it.

A lot of diligent Twitter folk are wisely reinforcing recommendations that you should wear a mask even if you have had a vaccine:

Which is great and I applaud them. But it has also given way to my new favorite meme:

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Getty Images, Avalon and Twitter

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33 Responses to “Dr. Fauci: Eating and drinking indoors is still not okay”

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  1. Darla says:

    LOL those tweets are funny. I have now been fully vaccinated, but still haven’t done anything I wasn’t doing when not vaccinated. I plan to. And I’m much more relaxed. Especially since my mom is also fully vaccinated. But with the beautiful weather already here in NY, I’m not running to eat inside a restaurant just yet. I will be eating outdoors though. I haven’t gone out to eat since last summer. I still don’t see myself going inside a restaurant. And movie theatres – they’re done with me. Honestly, I haven’t fully relaxed in one since Aurora anyway. Forget about when I bring my niece or nephew. Not a moment’s peace then. Constantly look around. Ain’t that America?

    • Esmom says:

      Ain’t that America, indeed. I’m with you, Darla, in sticking to my pre-vaccine habits. I had been feeling hopeful for my son, who is in college in MI but studied remotely this year at home, but now MI is a hot spot again. He’s got an apartment and a season football ticket ready to go for fall but I fear they may not be out of the woods even by then thanks to the “liberate Michigan” crowds that can’t be bothered to do the right thing. Sigh.

      • Darla says:

        I have been so shocked to see all of the crazies in Michigan. I saw someone from the CDC saying Michigan should shut down again, but I am afraid of what would happen to Gretchen if she did that. I think Biden is surging vaccines into the state, I am hoping they have it under control by summer time. I will keep my fingers crossed for your son and the fall.

      • Esmom says:

        Yes and thanks. I feel for Gov Whitmer, too, she’s damned no matter what she does. The vitriol she gets from anti-vaxxer MAGA parents on my university parent FB page is disgusting. They have no clue that they are the reason the state can’t get out from under this virus. I was telling a co-worker yesterday that she is likely not shutting down again not because she’s against it but purely because people will literally come for her and kill her if she does.

        My son is mentally prepared to give up his football ticket and study online from his apartment next year. It. Didn’t. Have. To. Be. This. Way.

        But you know that, sigh.

      • Gab says:

        The surges that have been happening will likely slow down by fall. I hope your son gets to go to school.

      • sassafras says:

        At this point, I just want to hunker down with my vaccinated family and friends and let the anti-vaxxer MAGA-ts all cough on each other until their number is diminished. AHEM.

    • Jess says:

      My husband loves going to movies so he’s been pushing me to go once he’s vaccinated. I’m still on the fence but I figure if we go to the very first showing of the day the air will be clean, in theory, as long as the employees wear masks, and I’ll wipe down the seats and sit far away from others. I really do miss the popcorn but I don’t see myself eating in there.

      • Becks1 says:

        I am actually feeling more comfortable about movie theaters than I thought I would. The theater closest to me lets you reserve seats, so you get to pick your seat, and then it automatically closes off the row behind you and in front of you and the seats on either side. You can also see how many people are in the theater before you buy the tickets. And if you aren’t eating or drinking (which I know is part of the experience) then you can keep your mask on the whole time. We haven’t been yet, but I get my second dose tomorrow and I think by mid-may I may feel comfortable going back.

      • Sigmund says:

        A movie theater near us actually invested in a special ventilation system due to Covid. You could ask your local theaters what steps they’re taking to address Covid. They may surprise you.

    • Sherey says:

      Sober &ED recovered 25yrs…I barely go to restaurants & certainly not bars. I don’t miss the few outings I’ve had of overly salted food + assholery waitStaff.
      I do have empathy for ppl in financial crisis, of course, but is our world changing??

    • Duchess of Corolla says:

      I am fully vaccinated and also playing it safe. I live in germy Pennsylvania, home of the stubborn and terminally misinformed. I agree that the vaccine has made me feel a lot calmer, and I feel pretty good about doing outdoor activities as a whole. That said, I am still double masking, and will not even think about eating in a restaurant for a long time.

      Given the number of people here who still cannot understand that masks save lives and that they aren’t a ploy by Democrats to destroy their “freedums,” I am not taking any chances.

      • Christin says:

        I live in a similar stubborn and misinformed section of the country. Yesterday our workplace had an indoor celebration that was 20 maskless people eating and playing games (laughing, loud talking and eating – what could go wrong?). I took my plate to the safety of my desk.

        It boggles my mind how people behave when the prediction was that the vaccine would result in a gradual return to normal. It would not be an instant flip of the switch.

      • Moxylady says:

        Once I am fully vaccinated, I want to get a hair cut. While masked of course. In a salon that is practicing covid safety measures.
        And I might go INSIDE of some stores. While masked.
        Those are my wild plans.

  2. Purplehazeforever says:

    I caught Covid because my boyfriend when out for St. Patrick’s Day. I’m just now starting to feel better. Yes, he wore a mask but it’s just not worth it.

  3. Sigmund says:

    Sigh. This is a little disappointing, as I haven’t eaten in a restaurant for over a year, and we were hoping to take my mom out for Mother’s Day. (All of us will be vaccinated by then.) But we’ve listened to Fauci this long, and I don’t see any reason to stop now.

    • Jennifer says:

      Fully vaccinated here too. I keep dreaming about Mexican restaurants but I’m also waiting on Fauci’s thumbs up. I hope the end is in sight. <3

    • Anne Call says:

      Sit outside! In May everywhere in the country is warm enough for outside seating.

  4. Hellohello says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong: Fauci is saying that we currently don’t know if the vaccines prevent subclinical (aka asymptomatic) infection AND it’s still not clear if vaccinated people can spread COVID around. Is this correct? I ask because I’m confused as to how the vaccines will curb virus mutations if it turns out that COVID is still being transmitted, just not at a symptomatic severity level that causes hospitalizations and/or deaths.

    • SMSCat says:

      We still do not know because the clinical trials’ output was severity of disease, not transmission. The new Pfizer study suggests that transmission was blocked by 90% by their vaccine. All vaccines seem to be doing an OK job at neutralizing the variants. The problem now is that with the new most transmissible variants, if someone, let’s say, could infect 50 people with the wild type, now they could infect 300 people with the variant (these numbers are made up; I do not know the R0 of the variants) and that is why cases are increasing among the younger, still unvaccinated people that are relaxing. I have eaten indoors sporadically during the pandemic. Only in a couple of places where I felt safe. I have been teaching Pilates indoors since last May. We have not had a single scare or exposure. I think the risk can be minimized if everybody follows the rules. Having said that, I am used now to space and I do not see myself going to a crowded place ever again.

  5. Becks1 says:

    This is reasonable. He’s not saying that we’re never going to be able to do those things again, just that right now we are still learning about the virus and the vaccines, so let’s take it slow and keep the masks on.

  6. The Other Sarah says:

    Hopefully this is helpful: different vaccines have different levels of protection against getting the virus AT ALL. For Moderna and Pfizer, 0.04% of vaccinated people have subsequently been infected with mild or moderate COVID. Those vaccines are so far 100% effective against death from COVID. All data and trials thus far indicate (but not yet conclusively) that vaccinated people DO NOT spread the virus unless they are in the 0.04% of people who get infected.

    That is Fauci’s point: until it is CONCLUSIVE that only the 0.04% of people can spread the virus, we should all take precautions.

    Now, whether you think continuing to behave as if you’re not vaccinated is a reasonable response to an infection rate of 0.04% is a different matter. Personally, I still wear masks and don’t eat in restaurants, but I am willing to risk an infection to go see my parents for the first time in a year. Knowing the numbers and risks, my parents are, too.

    But math is math, numbers and numbers, and that is what Fauci’s guidance is based on.

    • Sigmund says:

      To be fair, Fauci has said that small indoor gatherings of vaccinated people is fine. So visiting your family maskless, assuming everyone has gotten the vaccine, is different than what he’s saying here.

      • The Other Sarah says:

        Oh yes, absolutely re: small indoor gatherings. I should clarify that I am flying there and taking my child who is too young to be vaccinated, which is where my risk analysis comes in. I should also add that both my summary above and my personal decision-making have been informed by one of my in-laws who is a pandemic expert and on various city, state, and federal pandemic-related commissions.

      • Twin falls says:

        I have fully vaccinated elderly family members gathering soon for the first time since this all started. I’m both excited and terrified for them. Please let the vaccines actually work.

  7. Mimi says:

    My fully vaccinated friend decided to go to church five days after her second dose. She caught COVID and spread it to her entire household, none of whom were vaccinated yet, including the kids. Her 73 yr old mom died yesterday as a result. People need the chill the f*ck out thinking they can just do whatever because of these vaccines.

    • Tate says:

      That is awful. I am so sorry to hear that. Today is two weeks since my 2nd shot. I am now fully vaccinated and so is my mom. Not much will change for me or her. We just feel very fortunate to be together safely again.

    • Christin says:

      A local office recently had one co-worker spread the virus to the entire workgroup (8 people). Those who had the first dose became symptomatic, but not hospitalized. The three who had not yet received a vaccine each had to be hospitalized, with one not expected to live.

      We are having a lot of clusters in our region right now, and hospitalizations are back to late autumn surge levels.

  8. Case says:

    That’s because vaccines are a community effort, not about the individual. For me, the vaccine means I can see my vaccinated parents/friends in a private setting and I can go to the doctor not feeling so freaked out. And…that’s it. I’m not going to parties, restaurants, theaters, etc. because cases are still very high in my area. Not enough people have been vaccinated yet for it to make a dent.

  9. Kyla says:

    When/if we get to the point that the only people left unvaccinated are those that refuse to be vaccinated due to anti-science political beliefs or a “don’t tread on me” mentality, I’ll be totally fine with them being the only ones getting sick. I’ve had enough of those types of people over the last 4+ years, I no longer care enough to want to save them from themselves.

  10. TiredMomof2 says:

    I was just texting with a friend about this today. My 17 year old son is now fully vaccinated. A health department in another county opened up vaccines to all adults 16 and older in March. I ran to get him vaccinated. My friend and I do not know any kids our kids’ ages (16 and up) who have been vaccinated. It’s worrisome.

    • sassafras says:

      I feel like a lot of people who are getting their teens vaccinated are being relatively quiet about it. I just found out that the majority of kids on my kid’s soccer team had gotten at least one shot but none of the parents were talking about it. I’m chalking a lot of it up to some residual “guilt” that healthy teens might get it before the ill and/or elderly but the fact is, if we could shut down the virus among 16-30 year olds, that would help the transmission rates A LOT.
      TL; DR: EVERYONE GET A SHOT AS SOON AS YOU CAN.

  11. liz says:

    He is being reasonably cautious. Which is his job. A group of friends and I were texting the other day to sort out when the last of us will be fully vaccinated so we can get together for brunch for the first time in over a year. The physician in our group was fully vaccinated in February, I get my second dose on Friday, the woman who lives in NJ is getting her first dose next week, the other two New Yorkers are on close to the same schedule I am. We are making plans for June – OUTSIDE!

  12. Monica says:

    Cases in my county are rising a bit again, as the vaxx rates climb. I will not be setting foot inside a restaurant for the foreseeable future.