WATERFRONT WEDNESDAY 7-14-21 (1).jpeg

Crowds filled Waterfront Park on the first Waterfront Wednesday of the 2021 season on July 14, 2021. (WDRB photo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- While plenty of fall activities are gearing up, others are getting canceled due to concerns around COVID-19.

But what do doctors consider safe right now?

While most medical professionals agree outdoor activities are safer than indoors, some do suggest precaution for certain outdoor events.

"I think concerts where people are really packed in and you're going to be next to the same person, you know, a lot of yelling and cheering and things — I worry about those more than I do other events where you know you're spaced out more," Clark County Health Officer Dr. Eric Yazel.

"People who are fully-vaccinated should consider wearing a mask, even outdoors, especially if you're in a crowded situation where you cannot social distance," added Dr. Mark Burns, an infectious disease specialist with UofL Health.

That advice would include other favorites for this time of year, like football games and crowded fall festivals. Burns believes those circumstances still tend to pose a risk for the vaccinated while the Delta variant is prevalent.

"The Delta variant is over 1,000 times more transmissible than previous versions of COVID," Burns said. "When you're in an area of high transmissibility — something that's 1,000 times more transmissible — there's a great chance that it can be transmitted, especially among vaccinated people. That's why you may tend to see more breakthrough cases."

He and Yazel also agree that unvaccinated people should consider extra measures regardless of what they're doing.

"I do think if you're unvaccinated, regardless of the event going out in the public, you need to take your own risk profile into factor and mask and distance and all those things," Yazel said.

When heading to something indoors, like to a restaurant, there's other things to keep in mind.

"Where they're going, what are the precautions the eating establishment is doing?" Burns said. "Is the area in a good, ventilated area? Is it outdoors? You know, those things provide a safer place to eat versus an enclosed, indoor place." 

"Usually, people go out to eat and in their own family units or with their own circle of friends, which I think is fine, and people need that social interaction," Yazel added. "The one thing I always tell people is to avoid those crowded waiting areas where you're packed in tight, waiting for 30 minutes for your table and things like that. Just try to plan ahead and avoid those kind of crowds."

In general, Burns advises vaccinated or unvaccinated people to mask up when indoors.

Though outdoor events are generally considered safer, the doctors agree there'd be less worry if more people got vaccinated.

"If everyone would get vaccine, that's going to be the best way we get out," Burns said. "The mitigating measures are helpful, but the way to end the pandemic is going to be through vaccination." 

"Everybody wants personal responsibility, and I agree," Yazel added. "So know your own risk, risk profile and make your arrangements accordingly. And, you know, if you're higher risk, then make sure you take the precautions. It's just really hard working in the ERs and seeing people get sick when you know there was an effective treatment just right there readily available." 

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