I-TEAM: Doctors are taking vacations, and say you shouldn't cancel yours

(Source: WRDW)
(Source: WRDW)(WRDW)
Published: May. 20, 2020 at 5:25 PM EDT
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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

News 12 at 6 O'Clock/NBC at 7

AUGUSTA, GA. (WRDW/WAGT) -- It's one thing for a doctor to say COVID-19 risk is low and you're free to head to the beach and stay in a hotel. But when an infectious disease expert is going to do just that this weekend, it makes you do a double-take.

That might be a game-changer for some who are still on the fence about heading out so soon after more states open up.

Normally, Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, but this past couple of months have been anything but normal.

That means a lot of you have probably canceled your normal trip to the beach or to the lake, but Dr. Jose Vazquez with AU Health says you actually don't need to.

"If you're checking into the hotel, you're going to do the same thing that you've been doing anywhere else -- staying away from people," Vazquez said.

In fact, Vazquez says he's heading to the Isle of Palms near Charleston this weekend, which also means a hotel stay for him.

"So as far as sleeping in a room, a hotel room, I don't think that's an issue at all," Vazquez said.

According to Vazquez, outside is the safest place to be. The heat, the humidity, and the breeze are all factors to help diminish transmission of the virus.

When you add in a dip in saltwater, lake water, or even pool water, it's even better.

"No virus in the pool. This virus is very wimpy when it gets outside the body -- dies almost right away," Vazquez said.

And what about inside at a restaurant? When restaurants were allowed to reopen, Vazquez went in, and he liked what he saw.

"The ones that I've seen have actually had like, you know, a group setting, and then they skip one or two tables and then put another one, so I think they've been doing a very intelligently," Vazquez said.

And that is the key here. If you walk into a place where people aren't practicing social distancing, Vazquez says you should get out.

If the pool or beach is too crowded: change spots.

We can try to do normal things again as long as we realize things are not back to normal yet.

And sorry kids, but Vazquez says you'll have to be ok just hanging with the family.

"My kids are older now, but when you had kids, they always wanted to take a friend," he said. "I probably wouldn't be taking my kids' friends with me on the beach or to the beach."

Unfortunately, he says the same goes for anyone not in your household -- like grandparents, aunts, and uncles, or cousins. As difficult as that may be, he says it's still not safe.

But overall, it is getting safer out there. Keep washing your hands and wearing your mask, and try to find a way to get outside some. It will do us all some good.

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