Summer Plans in a Pandemic — What Is and Isn’t Safe?
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by Covid-19 Health Resource Center | 6.5.20
With many of us approaching month two (or more) of quarantine, the itch to go outdoors is starting to feel near-overwhelming. But infectious-disease and public-health experts warn that there's currently no such thing as a zero-risk outing. Even seemingly innocuous activities like sharing a vacation home with another family carries some degree of risk.
What determines risk?
Dr. William Miller, an epidemiologist at Ohio State University, says transmission risk is determined by three factors:
- Time: Risk increases as the amount of time you spend with others goes up
- Space: Risk increases as the space between you and others decreases
- People: Risk increases as the number of people with whom you interact goes up
How can risk be minimized?
Dr. Emily Landon, a hospital epidemiologist and infectious diseases specialist at University of Chicago Medicine, advises:
- Outdoor activities are safer than indoor activities
- Masks should be worn
- Bigger spaces are better
Risk levels of summer activities
- A pool or beach day, assuming maintenance of social distancing
- Sharing a vacation house with another family, as long as both families have been quarantining and limiting exposure to others
- Camping, as long as fellow campers have been social distancing and following COVID-19 guidelines
- Golf, tennis, and other non-contact outdoor sports
Low to medium risk
- Staying at a hotel (time in common areas - such as the lobby, gym, restaurant, and elevator - should be limited)
- A BYOB background gathering with one other household (risk level is dependent on the other household's adherence to social distancing and COVID-19 precautions)
Medium to high risk
- Eating indoors at a restaurant
- An outdoor celebration of more than 10 guests (risk goes up as the number of guests increases)
- Getting a haircut
- Attending religious services
- Going to a nightclub
Share your summer plans
Now that you know the risk levels of various summertime activities, what — if any — activities do you plan to engage in?
(Image Credit: iStockphoto.com / Feverpitched)
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