Bars emerge as a main source of COVID-19 spread

On Monday, Arizona, Texas, California and Florida closed some or all bars or restaurants in response to increases in COVID-19 cases.

Bars have emerged as a main source of COVID-19 spread, not just in these states, but across the U.S.

In Minnesota, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases associated with bar-going has soared into the hundreds.

At least 85 coronavirus cases have been linked to a popular Michigan college bar.

And public health authorities have identified bars as the source of outbreaks in Louisiana, Florida, Wyoming and Idaho.

Bars are ideal for the spread of a virus as contagious as this one. Many have large crowds with loud music that forces people to speak louder and more forcefully to be heard. The alcohol can impair judgment about following social distancing rules meant to prevent infection and spread. And it’s hard to drink with a mask on.

Plus, these bars attract young adults, many of whom believe they are immune or unlikely to get sick from COVID-19.

It is true that the virus is less deadly for adults in their twenties compared to older adults. Only 1 in 1,000 patients in their twenties die from COVID-19. Fewer than 4 percent are hospitalized if they get it, compared to 22 percent of adults in their sixties, according to the CDC.

This virus is everywhere, and closing or limiting bars won’t completely stop the spread of the virus. But short term, closing them or limiting the number of people in them, or simply avoiding them yourself for a short time, might be a necessary strategy until cases flatten.