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Medical experts warn virus is not gone as Bay Area begins to slowly reopen

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — As the Bay Area begins to slowly reopen, infectious disease experts are warning the coronavirus is not gone. 

And people should continue to practice the public health directives that got us to “Phase 2.”

Medical experts say it’s a reasonable idea to try to move forward but there is concern about a rebound if we come off too fast if people are not cautious.

They’re familiar directives infectious disease experts do not want people to forget important guidelines.

“We want you to wear a mask outside, please. We want people to socially distance, not congregate together,” Dr. George Rutherford, Epidemiology Professor at UCSF, said. “We want you to wash your hands frequently and correctly. We want you to cover your cough and sneezes and if you are sick please do not go outside unless you have to go to the doctors.”

The Bay Area is gradually moving into Phase 2 of the state’s reopening guidelines, which allows retail shops to offer curbside pickup.

Dr. Rutherford says this is probably as good as it’s going to get.

“In the Bay Area, we’ve minimized transmission about as far as we can minimize it with the current set of interventions,” Dr. Rutherford said. “We can always make these interventions stronger like actually not let people out of their houses but that gets too draconian quickly.”

After almost two months under shelter in place orders, shops in Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties were back in business last week.

San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties will soon follow.

Public health officials warn while the health guidelines begin to relax, it does not mean the virus is gone.

In a study published Wednesday, researchers at the proceedings of the national academy of sciences found just talking in confined spaces can spread COVID-19.

This figure shows the observation of airborne speech droplets in a closed stagnant air environment.

On the left is the amount of time it takes for droplets to disappear from a window — ranges of eight to 14 minutes.

The right shows the droplets produced when people speak.

Dr. Rutherford says even though we’ve gotten this far in this public health strategy, we have to remember that can always reverse the course if there’s a surge in COVID-19 cases.

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