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Public health expert: 'Let’s not get lazy and stupid'

While new cases of COVID-19 are falling, experts say people should still take precautions.

TAMPA, Fla. — As stay at home orders are relaxed and more and more businesses across Florida reopen, people are returning to more normal routines and some are taking fewer precautions when it comes to protecting themselves and others from COVID-19.

“This is not over yet,” warns Dr. Jay Wolfson of USF Health. “Let’s not be cavalier. Let’s not drop our guard because come fall, all the data and all we know about viruses like this is that it’s probably going to make a resurgence and we’re going to need to be on our guard to protect ourselves.”

Wolfson says even as gyms, bars and perhaps movie theaters prepare to reopen in some areas, it’s important to continue following CDC guidelines when it comes to wearing a face covering and gloves.

Wolfson says it's all about using common sense.

“If you’re walking by yourself on the street, or going to a public park or even going to the beach, there’s no particular reason to wear a mask,” said Wolfson. “If you’re going to a crowded place and you’re a high-risk individual you’re probably going to want to wear a mask to protect other people from you and also it does provide you some protection.”

Research suggests face coverings likely provide the most protection when you’re around other people in small enclosed areas, like inside an Uber or picking up coffee at a small shop.

“Any time that you were in an enclosed area with lots of people and there’s a limited circulation of air it’s a wise thing, it’s a sensible thing to wear a mask,” said Wolfson.

If you decide to wear gloves while visiting the grocery store, it's important to remember that once on, anything you touch can transfer the virus to other surfaces like your cell phone by the gloves themselves.   Also when removing the gloves, you should pull them off so they end up inside out, and then immediately throw in the trash.

Wolfson says because everyone has different risk factors and different levels of concern, not everyone will elect to wear a mask or gloves.

“Respect the beliefs and behaviors of others but stay out of their way if they’re doing something you don’t believe in.”

In the end, Wolfson says it's up to everyone to look out for themselves, their families, and each other.   He hopes just because the economy is reopening, people don’t completely let their guard down.

“Let’s not get lazy and stupid.”

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