How ‘meeting a few friends’ can cause a COVID-19 super-spreader event

To say that the COVID-19 pandemic has disturbed almost every aspect of our daily life would be a grave understatement.

Since March this year, we’ve been trying to balance the new set of rules that included seeing fewer people, going to fewer places, and practically stopping everything that makes us social—and while it’s normal we want to take a break from this situation and get some type of normalcy we’re used to, pandemic fatigue is not an excuse to break protocol and risk spending time with friends and family in close quarters.

In fact, a recent Healthline report suggests that despite news reports of superspreader events at large gatherings, like at the White House, small, private events, like family gatherings or dinner with friends, can also put you—and your loved ones—at risk.

While there’s a lessened perceived risk when it comes to smaller gatherings, experts still say that it’s not just about how many people are present, it’s about how infectious the COVID-positive guest may be… which is something that’s impossible to know until it’s too late because the virus has an incubation period that delays the onset of  immediate COVID symptoms.

It’s understandable we feel strained and anxious about not being able to see our friends and family as much as we did before, but it’s important to keep the distance and stop the further spread of COVID-19.

“Seeing just a few friends isn’t a smart idea since we cannot know for sure how many people our friends have seen and the behavior of those people,” explains Dr. Nikola Djordjevic MD. “Simply, we might be asymptomatic carriers of the virus and contaminate our friends, and it can be the case with our friends too.”

According to Dr. Djordjevic, being careful and respecting precautions will help us stay on the right track and avoid losing precious lives but we still shouldn’t socialize extensively during a pandemic and justify our actions with “seeing just a few friends” because even though we might be young, and bounce back from the virus, some of the people we love are not that resilient, and we should care and protect them.

While we’re all experiencing pandemic fatigue at this point, until we have access to instant at-home testing, no one knows if they have been exposed to the virus on their way to the meeting place or shortly before.

“It’s true that you can assure your safety when you are in your house and probably have been in quarantine which scratches you off the list of COVID perspectives,” says Alicia Hough, Corporate Wellness Expert.

“However, there’s no assurance that people whom you travel with or even the driver of the cab have maintained or applied the same precaution, which we cannot blame them for.”

The bottom line? While you may think that your small dinner party or lunch with family is a totally safe way to socialize during a pandemic, small gatherings do not restrict possible cases—all you need is one infected guest to make your party sick, which is why we should always be cautious in moments or decisions like such.