Rating summertime risks

You want to get outside and do things this summer? Here’s how to think about various activities in terms of risk, so you can do things that are safer and avoid things that are not.

It has been around two months of quarantine for many of us. The urge to get out and enjoy the summer is real. But what’s safe? We asked a panel of infectious disease and public health experts to rate the risk of summer activities, from backyard gatherings to a day at the pool to sharing a vacation house with another household.

One big warning: Your personal risk depends on your age and health, the prevalence of the virus in your area and the precautions you take during any of these activities. Also, many areas continue to restrict the activities described here, so check your local laws.

And there’s no such thing as a zero-risk outing right now. As states begin allowing businesses and public areas to reopen, decisions about what’s safe will be up to individuals. It can help to think through the risks the way the experts do.

“We can think of transmission risk with a simple phrase: time, space, people, place,” explains Dr. William Miller, an epidemiologist at Ohio State University.

Here’s his rule of thumb: The more time you spend and the closer in space you are to any infected people, the higher your risk. Interacting with more people raises your risk, and indoor places are riskier than outdoors.

Dr. Emily Landon, a hospital epidemiologist and infectious diseases specialist at University of Chicago Medicine, has her own shorthand: “Always choose outdoors over indoor, always choose masking over not masking and always choose more space for fewer people over a smaller space.”

Read on for advice about fourteen specific activities. This is the right way to think about these things. Nothing is 100% safe, but some things are a lot less safe than others. Wearing a mask improves the odds in most situations, which is why we should all want to do that – it makes more things less risky. That doesn’t come with a guarantee – as with everything else in life, you can do the right thing and still get a bad outcome – but it at least moves the needle in your favor. Understanding the situation you’re in and what risk factors you face helps keep you away from making bad bets. What more do you want?

Related Posts:

This entry was posted in The great state of Texas and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.