TAMPA, Fla. — “It all depends on what we do and how we do it,” said Dr. Claudia Espinosa, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Infectious Disease at the University of South Florida.
Doctors say 4th of July celebrations this weekend will play a role in what happens next in the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Holidays traditionally for the past 15 months have been really those targets where we can see two weeks after a holiday then we will see a spike of cases,” said Espinosa.
Experts expect to see another spike after this holiday too, but how big that spike will be is dependent on how people celebrate.
“If you’re fully vaccinated… I think you know you could probably go about your normal kind of celebrations. A year ago at this time we didn’t have vaccines and we were all worried about gatherings and stuff,” said Dr. Michael Teng, Virologist and Associate Professor at USF Health.
For unvaccinated people, Teng says it’s crucial they remember to follow public health measures and CDC guidelines.
“The problem is that if you gather in large crowds the likelihood, especially unmasked, the likelihood is you’re going to get some transmission of the virus,” said Teng.
“We are seeing 99% of the people who end up in the hospital with COVID now are unvaccinated people,” he added.
Experts say people should also be careful planning activities if they have unvaccinated kids.
“I am worried and I know that many of my colleagues are too that July the 4th is coming and a lot of kids are going to be out there and many people are still not vaccinated,” said Espinosa.
With the highly contagious Delta variant now spreading across the State of Florida, Espinosa says it’s even more important people don’t let their guards down.
“People probably don’t understand that there are still new variants that are coming and so we need to be conscious about that and protect our kids,” she added.
She suggests having unvaccinated children wear face masks and avoid crowded indoor spaces.
“It’s really time to pay attention to what you’re doing out there,” said Teng.