Healthy Body

Your Guide To Living a ‘Normal’ (But Safe) Life Right Now, According to a Top ER Doctor

Jessie Van Amburg

Actress and activist Sophia Bush sits down with experts to get the answers to our audience's most pressing questions about today’s most confusing topics, with emphasis on the straightforward facts you, ahem, need to know. Read more stories from Need To Know

If I could sum up the year 2020 in one phrase, it would be “garbage fire.” Or perhaps just “confusing mess.” Because that’s what the last 10 months have felt like—just an overwhelming amount of confusion, stress, and chaos for us to sift through without much guidance or support.

I’m not alone in that sentiment. A reported 63 percent of Americans are confused and overwhelmed by the onslaught of COVID-19 information and coverage since the pandemic took hold in March. Actress and activist Sophia Bush has been in the same boat all year long. But instead of burying her head in the proverbial sand, she’s posing some of the biggest questions about COVID-19 to top experts on Well+Good’s latest YouTube show, Need To Know. The goal? To sift through the noise and misinformation in order to provide people like you and me with the stuff that we truly… well, need to know.

Bush’s first guest, Darien Sutton, MD, MBA, an emergency physician, explains the ins and outs of how to live as normal a life as possible right now while keeping yourself safe from the pandemic. “There’s no zero-risk action you can take at all,” says Dr. Sutton, “aside from locking yourself inside of your home and not interacting with anyone.” But that’s not good for anyone’s mental well-being, he adds—which is why being smart about risk and taking the proper precautions is key to balancing normalcy with safety.

The first question: Should I wear masks on a walk with friends, even if we’re outside? Short version: Yes, especially if you don’t live with the person, says Dr. Sutton. However, there is an upside. “I’ve found that some of my patients have friends who have found ways around this by creating social ‘pods,'” he says, meaning people who choose to socialize together without masks or social distancing precautions, but who take precautions around all other people. When done correctly, this can mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmissions, says Dr. Sutton. (Emphasis on correctly, though.)

Bush and Dr. Sutton discuss lots of other quarantine-related topics, including whether it’s ever safe to gather indoors and how to properly assess your own risk of spreading or contracting COVID-19.

To find out more, watch the video above.

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