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4 ways to fight the surge

A woman in a face mask and sweater walks down a street.

The U.S. is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, and it has already taken a deadly toll. Unfortunately, it's also likely to worsen as colder weather in much of the country keeps people indoors.

Why now?

There are multiple reasons for the surge. One factor is that many communities reopened over the the summer and fall. People gathered in restaurants, bars and stores, giving the virus more chances to spread.

Another reason is that in colder weather, people spend more time indoors, where the virus spreads more easily.

Then there's "pandemic fatigue." After months of restrictions, many of us have grown tired of wearing masks and taking other precautions to stem the spread of COVID-19—and have let those good habits slip.

But with months more of cold weather ahead of us, this is no time to drop our guard against the virus. Here are four ways you can help fight the surge and protect the people around you:

1. Get back to basics. Continue to:

  • Wear a mask whenever you're out in public.
  • Keep 6 feet between you and others not in your household.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces daily.

2. Be flexible with holiday plans. Experts are urging people to stay home this holiday season. Some governors and local leaders are also issuing new restrictions on gatherings. If you had plans to travel, now's the time to rethink and reverse course if necessary.

3. Commit to healthy habits. Doing what you can to stay well—mentally and physically—can help you weather what's likely to be a difficult few months. Try to focus on:

  • Staying fit. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise five or more days of the week.
  • Eating nutritious foods. Emphasize fresh produce, legumes, lean protein and complex carbohydrates like whole grains.
  • Getting plenty of sleep. Healthy sleep helps you stave off infections and is vital for your mental health.
  • Staying connected. Tend to your support network by keeping in touch with family and friends.

4. Support the healthcare workers in your life. Healthcare workers have been under enormous stress during this pandemic. Let them know how much you appreciate them. Listen and offer your support. If you have the means, consider donating to their workplace. And above all, do your part to follow health guidelines and stop the spread of the virus.

For more information on COVID-19, visit our Coronavirus health topic center.

Reviewed 1/6/2021

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