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Doctor wants to make sure social distancing is part of your Fourth of July weekend plans

With COVID-19 cases on the rise, here's what you can do to stay safe.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Independence Day weekend is normally full of celebrations and parties but right now, doctors say that social distancing needs to prevail.

“I think that if I were going to have a July 4th barbecue, I would have it with a small group of people I know," said Dr. John Sinnott, an infectious disease doctor at USF Health and Tampa General Hospital.

Sinnott recommends keeping celebrations small and staying outdoors, "the air dilutes it rapidly.” However, in the case that the virus does spread, Sinnott also recommends keeping a log of everyone that attended the gathering.

There are a couple of extra steps he recommends for everyone to stay safe. 

“I would not serve alcohol. Alcohol changes social boundaries. People lean closer when they drink," Sinnott said.

Even if you don’t have serious signs of the illness, physicians are worried about the unknown, long-term effects of COVID-19. 

“I've had a couple patients who just don’t see, to be recovering well, they suffer principally from lacking energy. Both persistent cough," Sinnott said. "And you know these days we started coughing, people are not happy.”

While it is still too soon to know the lasting effects, doctors worry about what they might be.

“Now, we don't know, at all the long term effects. Hopefully, this won't have any. But right now, we don't know. And I would like to borrow a phrase, avoided it like the plague," Sinnott said.

RELATED: Florida confirms 11,458 new coronavirus cases on July 3, breaking its own single-day record

RELATED: Florida reports its youngest death yet amid the coronavirus pandemic

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