UTAH (ABC4) – The countdown is on. Plenty of people are picking up last-minute gifts, which means more crowds, something COVID-19 loves.
“Well, anytime you have a large number of people gathered together in an indoor space, there’s the potential for spread of respiratory illnesses, including COVID,” said Nicholas Rupp with the Salt Lake County Health Department.
According to Rupp, a lot goes into one-to-one transmission, which is the main concern when you go to a place like a shopping mall.
“Including your own immune system’s efficacy, how long you’ve been vaccinated, how effective the vaccine was for you if you’re vaccinated at all, how infectious the other person is, how much virus they have in their system,” said Rupp.
Rupp said it’s all about layering protection.
“None of our tools are 100%, nothing is working perfectly. But when we layer multiple of them on top of one another, that’s when we get some really good protection. So vaccination, hand washing, wearing masks, staying home when we’re sick…. those are all things we can do the layered approach to protect people as much as possible,” said Rupp.
No matter your vaccine status, Rupp said you should wear a mask in busy indoor spaces. If you’re not vaccinated, have a vulnerable immune system or live with someone at risk, Rupp said you should consider pick up or better yet, delivery.
While the clock is ticking to get those presents, experts say a much more important deadline is already upon us as the Omicron variant spreads.
Rupp encourages everyone who is eligible get the vaccine and/or the booster the next time they are out shopping.
“It’s really quick and efficient while you’re out shopping, stop by, drive through the vaccine site and get vaccinated too,” said Rupp.