As parts of Alabama’s safer-at-home measures relax on Monday, May 11, health experts — including public health officials and world-renowned UAB infectious disease doctors and researchers — urge extreme caution.

According to the data, COVID-19 is still very much present and spreading across Alabama, as our state continues to experience an increase in cases.

Make no mistake, you and the people you love are still safer at home. If you can work, see friends, worship and do other activities virtually, do. There are still great benefits to avoiding others. 

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If you do go out, it is still important to follow health guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Always wear a face covering.
  • Wash your hands often, and for at least 20 seconds.
  • Disinfect things you touch, and do not touch what you do not have to.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Avoid large groups.

The social distancing we have done in our communities has been difficult, but it has worked. Thank you. However, that sacrifice could be quickly wasted if we do not stay vigilant. Steps backward would have serious health and economic consequences far worse than what we have seen in Alabama.

Our elected officials weigh many factors in responding to the COVID-19 crisis, including economic, legal and health care implications. It is important to note that revised stay-at-home guidance does encourage social distancing as we begin to reopen. When it comes to a gradual reopening and following safety guidelines, it does not have to be one or the other.

People need to continue to take that social distancing seriously so we can continue to reopen.

The decisions you make during this active pandemic affect you, your loved ones and everyone around you. So please, as we work our way back toward a more normal life, consider the health and safety of others and keep aggressive social distancing a part of your life.

Mark Wilson, M.D. is the Jefferson County Health Officer

Ray L. Watts, M.D. is the president of the University of Alabama at Birmingham

(Courtesy of UAB)