Having a Safe Fourth of July in the Age of COVID-19

Although July 4th has traditionally been a time for friends and family to come together, the pandemic created by the novel coronavirus has made such gatherings a risky venture. Instead of congregating in large groups to celebrate various holidays and personal milestones, many of us have found ways to adjust and make do with smaller-scale affairs. So, while large-scale shindigs may be off-limits for this year’s Independence Day, there are numerous steps you can take to ensure a day of fun with your immediate family. If safe Fourth of July in the age of COVID-19 is what you’re after, the following pointers are sure to prove useful.

Avoid Large Gatherings

While avoiding large gatherings during an active pandemic may seem like a no-brainer, a frustrating number of Americans seemingly failed to get the memo. Because of dangerous disinformation, general indifference and outright selfishness, many people refuse to regard COVID-19 as the enormous threat that it is and continue to go about their lives as usual. That being the case, don’t be surprised if a number of friends, family members and other acquaintances still insist on hosting big get-togethers this Independence Day. No matter how tempted you are to attend or how much pandemic fatigue you’re feeling, it’s important that you decline any such invitations, as you could be walking into a superspreader event. Unsurprisingly, infection numbers have consistently risen in the wake of holidays for which people insisted on getting together in spite of the very real risk.

Additionally, depending on what part of the country you’re in, there’s a chance your state and/or local government isn’t taking the pandemic seriously. If this is indeed the case, don’t allow yourself to be influenced by such negligent behavior. Even if your city or township is still holding its annual Main Street parade or fireworks display, attending such crowded events is practically asking for bad things to happen.

Only Congregate with Fully Vaccinated Individuals

For starters, you should avoid social interaction with anyone outside of your immediate household until you’ve been fully vaccinated. This means avoiding seeing other people socially until at least two weeks have passed since your second shot. While your body is building the necessary immunity, it is still possible for you to contract the novel coronavirus. Additionally, anyone with whom you congregate on the Fourth should also be fully vaccinated – instead of in the waiting period between vaccination and immunity.

For maximum safety, you should still take common sense precautions around these individuals. While the two-dose varieties of vaccine provide 95% immunity, breakthrough cases have still been reported. This isn’t out of the ordinary, mind you – no vaccine is flawless, and breakthrough cases are to be expected when such a large percentage of the country refuses to get vaccinated.   

Practice Proper Firework Safety

For most Americans, fireworks and July 4th go hand in hand. However, with firework displays organized by local municipalities too dangerous to attend during a pandemic, some of us have opted to put on smaller-scale shows of our own. Just remember that in the absence of the proper precautions, fireworks can present a substantial threat to personal safety and cause massive property damage.

In the interest of maximum safety, avoid setting off fireworks under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Even if you think you have a high tolerance, both of these substances can lead to impaired judgment, which is the last thing you want when handling fireworks. Secondly, when lighting fireworks, don’t let any part of your body hover over them, and make sure to quickly back up a safe distance once a firework has been successfully lit. Thirdly, you should never attempt to re-light a firework, even if it appears to be a dud. All duds and used fireworks should be doused with water before any attempts are made at touching them or throwing them out. Fourthly, fireworks should not be handled by children under any circumstances. Furthermore, you can avoid crowded stores and potential COVID-19 exposure by opting to buy fireworks online.   

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, July 4th was widely regarded as a time of congregation for friend groups, families and even entire communities. However, due to the highly infectious nature of the novel coronavirus, Independence Day get-togethers now carry a substantial amount of risk. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the Fourth of July in a safe and responsible manner. Anyone looking to have a memorable Independence Day with their immediate family can benefit from the measures discussed above. 

About Shahbaz Ahmed

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