You can bet a lot of people will be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year as COVID-19 cases continue to decline. But, some may still be wondering if it’s safe to socialize.
According to Joseph Khabbaza, MD, pulmonologist for Cleveland Clinic, the answer is yes.
“The Omicron wave has gone down tremendously and we expect it to continue to go down in the next couple of months,” he said. “I think we’re very optimistic that we can have that similar feeling we had in the summer of 2021, where there were so few cases and we felt more confident in anything we did.”
Dr. Khabbaza said it really comes down to personal risk at this point.
If you don’t feel comfortable being around strangers, it’s probably best to stay home or do something in a smaller group with family and friends. It can also help to know their vaccination status.
As far as masks go, the CDC said they don’t have to be worn indoors anymore in most parts of the United States. However, they are still required on public transportation.
Dr. Khabbaza said another thing to consider is who might be at risk if you do go out.
“It’s very important to know who is in your life, who might be vulnerable that you are around or will be around in the time after any kind of risky gathering,” he said. “So, if you have elderly parents, or grandparents, or friends, or family members that are immunocompromised, those are people that are unfortunately not fully out of the woods.”
He recommends staying away from anyone vulnerable for a week or two afterwards to make sure you don’t get them sick. You could also take a COVID test to confirm you’re negative.