Health officials warn Fourth of July gatherings could cause explosion in COVID-19 numbers

With large public Fourth of July fireworks celebrations being canceled, health officials around Central Florida know that likely will mean more at-home Independence Day celebrations. 

“Big family get-togethers and cookouts, lots of people getting together that have been together in a while, hugging. All that stuff and you really don’t know who in your family is good, who is not because a lot of people are asymptomatic,” Dr. Todd Husty, Medical Director of Seminole County said. 

He warns that the Fourth of July get-togethers could be dangerous. 

“We are very concerned about the Fourth of July. We saw what happened Memorial Day. Fourth of July might even be worse.”

Dr. Husty said this big surge in COVID-19 cases we’re seeing now started when folks gathered Memorial Day weekend.  With so many more people sick with coronavirus heading into the Fourth of July weekend, following the Centers for Disease Control’s guidelines is necessary for everyone. 

“[It’s] over a hundred times higher than it was. I mean, that’s a number! A hundred times higher -- that’s two exponents,” Dr. Husty said. 

He said attending a sizable Fourth of July party is playing Russian roulette.

“You don’t know if you’re going to get it. But actually, that revolver is getting smaller, because there are many more chances you’re going to get in contact with somebody [who has it]."

He added that casual settings with close friends and family is where many let their guard down. 

“I’ve been invited to Fourth of July parties, but I’m not going. Because I know they’re not going to wear masks. How do I know that? You know they’re not going to wear masks while they drink,” Dr. Husty said. 

Suzy Farmar, known to her 33,000 Instagram followers as @SoozietheFoodie, is finally over COVID-19 after testing positive earlier this month.  She went public with her diagnosis, using her platform to warn others. 

“Being sick is horrible. Not knowing what will happen. Not knowing what your symptoms will be and having no medication and being isolated the whole entire process,” Farmar said. 

 Dr. Husty said if you’re going to attend a Fourth of July party, stay outside, remember to social distance and stay six feet apart.