PITTSBURGH — Families have been cooped up inside for months now, and with the nicer weather, people want to get out and be around others. But experts say this is no time to let down your guard.
A video sent to us on Facebook shows a large gathering in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. In the video, you can see people are not wearing masks, which, doctors say, is concerning because we’re not in the green yet.
Have questions about the spread of the coronavirus? We have an entire section dedicated to coverage of the outbreak. CLICK HERE for more.
“It’s high-risk behavior. It's high-risk activity,” said Dr. Dave Weber, an infectious disease specialist at UPMC.
We reached out to Pittsburgh police to see how they’re handling situations like this. They said they’ve been monitoring reports of large gatherings in the city and gave us the following statement:
“In true Pittsburgh fashion, residents pulled together and for more than two months diligently observed health officials' recommendations to social distance and wear masks in public.
"In recent days, however, we have received reports of large gatherings in the city. These gatherings are understandable—people have been isolated and social contact has been severely restricted. But we remind everyone that this virus is extraordinarily dangerous—having killed around 100,000 Americans to date—and that even if you feel well and show no symptoms, you can pass it on to a loved one who could become seriously ill or even die.”
“From the beginning of the pandemic, Public Safety has taken an educational approach to enforcing the governor’s orders, and we will continue to do so. The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police's Civil Affairs Unit is reaching out to organizers, and officers are handing out masks to anyone who needs them.
"We are not out of the woods yet. We urge all residents and visitors to the City of Pittsburgh to stay vigilant as we attempt to defeat this virus once and for all.”
A spokesperson for Gov. Tom Wolf’s office also sent us a statement:
“From the beginning of this public health crisis, the Wolf Administration has taken early and aggressive measures to protect public health and safety. Most Pennsylvanians are doing their part to mitigate the spread of this deadly virus by abiding by the stay-at-home order and social distancing measures, and because of these efforts, we are flattening the curve and our hospitals are not overwhelmed. However, it’s critical that Pennsylvanians continue to take proper precautions. Pennsylvanians are strongly urged to continue to take this public health crisis seriously, even as counties move through the phased reopening process.”
Weber said the No. 1 thing people should avoid right now is close interactions with others you don’t know.
If you're desperate to get outside for some fun, Weber said outdoor activities such as camping and swimming are low risk.
Even a backyard barbecue is OK as long as it’s a small group with people you know and everyone is social distancing.
We also asked Weber about the risks of eating at a restaurant, getting your hair cut. going to church, staying at a hotel and vacationing at the beach. Watch his full interview below:
© 2020 Cox Media Group