Dr. Leana Wen: 5 actions to avoid July 4 weekend amid the coronavirus pandemic

Know Your Value founder Mika Brzezinski talks to the emergency physician and former health commissioner for Baltimore about how to stay safe and still have fun.
Image: Illegal fireworks illuminate the sky over the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York
Illegal fireworks illuminate the sky over the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York City, on June 19, 2020.Lucas Jackson / Reuters

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By Know Your Value staff

Chances are your July 4 weekend plans are looking a little different than previous years, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. But how can you have fun over the holiday while staying safe at the same time?

Know Your Value founder and “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski recently asked Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and former health commissioner for Baltimore, for her top tips.

Dr. Wen stressed that Americans shouldn’t let their guard down. “Remember Memorial Day? There was a sense of relief, that the worst of the pandemic is behind us. People had quarantine fatigue and were eager to go to newly reopened bars and restaurants. Now, we're seeing surging infections in most states,” she said.

She also advised:

1. Don't go to an indoor house party.

“Lots of outbreaks have been linked to house gatherings. Being outdoors reduces risk by as much as 19 times.Go to someone's backyard or park instead of gathering inside,” suggested Dr. Wen.

RELATED: Dr. Leana Wen: 5 tips to safely socialize during COVID-19

2. Don't go to an indoor bar.

“An outdoor bar or restaurant is better, but make sure there is space to keep a 6-foot distance,” said Dr. Wen, noting that in places like Lansing, Michigan, a single bar was the source of 107 infections.

3. Stay out of crowds.

“Now's not the time to go to a parade or busy fireworks display,” said Dr. Wen. “Beaches are fine if they're not too busy (though some in your area may be closed; check before you go). Be prepared to leave if there's a place that looks like there are too many people, and they're not abiding by physical distancing and wearing masks.”

4. Don't share drinks or food.

“Bring your own water and snacks with you,” suggested Dr. Wen. “If you're offered a drink, make sure it's poured directly from the bottle and that you're not sharing a bottle or glass with someone. Stay away from buffets and bowls of chips where multiple people are touching the same utensil or reaching their hands into the same container.”

5. Don't succumb to peer pressure.

“If your friends ask you to go to a bar, suggest getting together in a backyard instead. If relatives want to come over to your house, offer to sit outside and not inside,” said Dr. Wen. “Remember that you are doing this to protect yourself and your loved ones, and that we need all of us together to contain coronavirus and keep all of us safe.”