‘I just fell in love with it’ | Health Beat

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The safer summer social | Health Beat

Try to keep your social gatherings small this summer, typically about 15 or fewer people. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

Hand-washing, wearing a mask and staying about half a dozen feet from others are still the best steps we can take to reduce exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.

With the number of new cases trending upward in the U.S. in recent weeks, what’s the best course of action for family picnics, parties or get-togethers?

The short answer: For most, it’s relatively safe to gather in small groups of 15 or fewer, as long as precautionary measures are in place.

COVID-19 or not, it’s unreasonable to expect everyone to avoid social interactions with loved ones and friends, said Liam Sullivan, DO, an infectious disease specialist with Spectrum Health.

“We’re human beings,” Dr. Sullivan said. “Human beings are social creatures by nature. We crave that interaction with people.

“We can’t

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‘A mask is the way to do this’ | Health Beat

A mask won’t provide 100% protection from viruses. But it’s a barrier that is effective at reducing transmission. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

With many states seeing a resurgence in COVID-19 activity, policymakers are now redoubling efforts to control the spread of the virus.

And a mask remains a leading defense, doctors say.

The topic has stirred plenty of debate.

“There’s a lot of controversy around wearing masks for one reason or another,” said Liam Sullivan, DO, an infectious disease specialist with Spectrum Health. “But more and more data is showing that when there’s widespread mask usage, it really substantially cuts down on transmission of the virus.”

Hand-washing and social distancing remain critical components, but health officials have also pegged masks as an essential tool.

In Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order requiring masks to be worn in public indoor spaces and outdoor crowded areas and

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