Fall is rapidly approaching, which means socializing will happen indoors, where risk of transmission increases.

As summer comes to a close and students and teachers return to school this fall, health experts are asking us to be extra cautious with our "quarantine bubbles," or the people we have consistently spent time with during the coronavirus pandemic. Public health officials and epidemiologists alike state that now is the time to shrink these circles—not grow them—reports TODAY. "I think they shouldn't have opened social bubbles to begin with," Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, a professor of pediatrics and health research and policy at Stanford Health Care in California, told the outlet. "This is a time when we all want to see our family and friends, and we can still do that, but I think we just have to be very cautious about how and when and how many."

young woman walking outdoors with a face mask
Credit: Getty / pixelfit

Experts say that after six months of quarantine, many people are beginning to feel pandemic fatigue. "It's going to be a lot harder to stay outdoors and try to socialize, and people are going to go inside," Gregg Gonsalves, Ph.D., assistant professor epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut, added. "And as people go inside, that's where risk increases."

Although cases are currently low in some states, the worst is not necessarily over; now is not the time to begin socializing within a larger circle. And as the temperature drops in many parts of the country and we retreat indoors, it is as important as ever to continue practicing social distancing, wearing face masks, and consistently washing hands. "It's really important for us to recognize where we are in the pandemic," said Barun Mathema, Ph.D., an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City. "We have not moved out of it."

Because each state has different guidelines for keeping residents safe during COVID-19, be sure to do your research before traveling to a new state—especially during the upcoming holiday season—to keep yourself, your family, and everyone else safe.


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