Is it safe to celebrate the Fourth of July?

Fourth of July fireworks is it safe
Photo via Andrew Seaman/Flickr (CC BY ND 2.0)

Digital celebrations and social distancing will be crucial for a safe Fourth of July for Americans, according to health experts. 

In a press briefing on June 25, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it’s imperative Americans take all precautions for Independence Day—especially considering that the nation is still in the midst of the first wave of the pandemic. 

Data from the CDC shows that the country is nowhere near “flattening the curve.” Cases continue to rise at alarming rates, and CDC Director Robert Redfield said that there are likely 10 cases that go unreported for every confirmed case. 

The CDC’s COVID-19 Incident Manager, Dr. Jay Butler, recommended Americans celebrate the holiday in small outdoor gatherings where it is possible to social distance at least six feet apart. He also said it is safer to be around people wearing face coverings. Additionally, hosts should consider asking attendees to bring their own food instead of dining potluck-style. 

“We do recognize that families will want to be together over the holidays,” Butler said, “but being able to minimize the people that you are around, particularly people that you have not been around in the past, is particularly important.”  

Redfield said in the press briefing that Americans must follow the guidelines provided to keep the more vulnerable population safe. 

“For the Fourth of July, which is a family event, we want to re-emphasize that it’s really important that we get back to being vigilant to our collective commitment to do these social mitigation steps to protect the vulnerable friends, family, community, and those individuals that we don’t know that we’re interacting with, from potentially getting infected and having a poor, negative outcome because of the co-morbidities,” Redfield said. 

Cities and towns around the nation have canceled their Fourth of July events or gone digital to encourage citizens to stay home (though that doesn’t apparently apply to Vanilla Ice). Now, Americans around the country can tune in to iconic Independence Day celebrations, including New York City’s Macy’s fireworks show and Washington D.C.’s “A Capitol Fourth” on PBS. 

The New York Times compiled a list of alternative ways to celebrate the Fourth of July online. The paper recommends Americans take digital tours of national landmarks and monuments, watch a movie about the founding of the U.S., or celebrate by cooking themed dishes. Additionally, readers are recommended to get creative with their social distanced gatherings, with neighborhood block parties, tailgates, or gatherings at a park. 

Safely celebrating America’s birthday is possible, as long as all attendees follow the same basic guidelines recommended for daily life: Wash your hands often, wear a mask when possible, and keep six feet apart. 

Is it safe:

Sources: CDC, New York Times 

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