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Keep Safe from Covid-19 during your vacation activity
 

Think through the risks the way the experts do 


After the long staycation days that kept at home everyone around the world, the urge to get out and enjoy the summer is real. 

But  is it safe?

A panel of infectious disease and public health experts have been asked to rate the risk of summer activities, from backyard gatherings, to a day at the pool, to sharing a vacation house with another household. (source NPR.com)



The big warning 

Your personal risk depends

  • on your age  
  • on your health, 
  • the prevalence of the virus in the area 
  • and the precautions you take during any of these activities. 

Always choose outdoors over indoor, always choose masking over or not masking and always choose more space for fewer people over a smaller space.
hospital epidemiologist and infectious diseases specialist at University of Chicago Medicine

A BYOB backyard gathering with one other household:
low to medium risk

"If you have a gathering with one other household that [has] followed social distancing, this would be a low-risk activity," says Dr. Judith Guzman-Cottrill,


What alters risk? To lower risk, 

avoid sharing food, drinks or utensils Dr. Andrew Janowski, a pediatric infectious diseases expert at Washington University in St. Louis, notes that 


the food itself isn't the risk but touching shared dishes or utensils could be.


Watch out for drinking, says Dr. Abraar Karan, a physician and public health researcher at Harvard Medical School, as it can make people sloppy about social distancing. It also increases the odds that people will want to use your bathroom.

"Once you move into the house with others, the risk profile goes up," he says.

Some experts suggest wearing a face covering, but Landon points out that you can't realistically stay masked while eating and drinking. 


remember that :

 Meeting in a spacious outdoor area with only a small group isn't too risky. But experts say that ¨

safety here depends on whom you invite and what their behaviors have been.

Eating indoors at a restaurant: medium to high risk

Indoor dining "is still amongst the riskier things you can do," the experts warn 

The trouble is,  even if spacing is OK, the duration of exposure is longer." 

Scientins remind that the outbreak in Guangzhou, China, took place in a restaurant with no windows and poor ventilation, 

  • and the air conditioning appears to have blown droplets between tables.


What alters risk?  The risk level depends on how well the restaurant has adapted for the pandemic. 


  • Eateries should reduce and space out seating, 
  • require servers to wear masks and 
  • offer easy access to hand-washing stations.
  • They should also provide single-use options for condiments so you don't have to touch shared ones, 
  • And they should close all self-serve areas like soda fountains or buffet tables.


remember that :n

If you do go to a restaurant, look for outdoor seating. and better  go with only members of her household

Spending the day at a popular beach or pool: low risk

As long as you can stay socially distanced, this could be a pretty safe activity, our experts say.


The water itself is not a risk. "The sheer volume of water will dilute out the virus, making the water a highly unlikely source of infection," says Janowski.


What alters risk? The key question is, 

how close are you to others? "

Can you ensure that you can stay 6 feet [or more] from anyone outside of your designated family?" asks Rebecca Katz, director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University Medical Center.

  • Watch out for crowds at entry points and bathrooms
  • Maintain social distance both on land and in the water.

Don't let your kids running around with other people's kids."


  • A beach is better than a pool in terms of space. Go early in the morning or late afternoon, when crowds are lower, and look for beaches that mark off spots for people to set up their areas.

Outdoor celebration with >10 guests: medium to high risk

Family-oriented celebrations, a summer tradition in Greece, come with a lot of risk right now according to experts. 

Many weddings have been postponed, with good reason.

"Outdoors reduces the risk, but as people are celebrating and drinking, it seems like they may not social distance as readily," says Karan, the Harvard physician. "These types of events end up being large crowds where people are having extended face-to-face conversations."

The larger the guest list, the greater the potential that one of them is infected, according to epidemiologists.

What alters risk? The danger varies greatly depending on the size of the gathering and how closely people gather.

If you are considering hosting a celebration, make it a small one with mostly local guests. "If people have to travel by car, by plane, from other places, you're really asking for high risk"

And really think twice about inviting your relatives, particularly older family members or those with underlying conditions. 


Using a public restroom:
low to medium risk

Restrooms have been designed to prevent disease transmission

The risk depends on the number of local COVID-19 cases and how clean the bathroom is, says Janowski of Washington University, noting that a bathroom involves multiple high-touch surfaces.

There isn't yet sufficient data to know if there's risk from toilet flushes aerosolizing the virus.

The CDC says it's "unclear whether the virus found in feces may be capable of causing COVID-19."

What alters risk: 

Τhe main risk comes from restrooms that are small, busy and poorly ventilated — like "those restrooms in a gas station off the highway where the restroom is outside."

Choose a bathroom that looks clean and is well stocked with supplies such as paper towels, soap and toilet paper. 

Avoid bunching up in a line to use the toilet or staying there long, if you're within 6 feet of others. 

Wash your hands after you go, and sanitize them if you need to touch any surfaces after that.

Going to a nightclub: high risk

According to the experts going to a nightclub is a very high-risk activity. 

  • Crowds, 
  • ultra-close contact, 
  • singing, 
  • sweating and 
  • inhibition-loosening alcohol 

are a potent cocktail of risk factors. 

When drinking, people become less compliant with rules, Miller says, and they may breathe heavier from the dancing — "which means more virus is being shed," he says. 

If there's an infected person in the mix, the virus can spread easily.


What alters risk? 

Nothing makes this a good idea right now. 

If you want to dance, have a dance party at home with the people in your intimate circle. If it's a small outdoor gathering, dancing under the stars — 6 feet apart — would be much less risky too.

Staying at a hotel:
low to medium risk

Staying at a hotel is relatively low risk, especially once you're in your room. 

It's best to limit your time in common areas such as the

  • lobby, 
  • gym, 
  • restaurant 
  • and elevator, 

where the risk of exposure is higher.

What alters risk? 

Bring disinfecting wipes to wipe down the TV remote control and other common surfaces. You might also want to 

remove the bedspread since it may not be cleaned after every guest.

Ask about the hotel's cleaning policies, as many have new COVID-19 protocols. 

"Beware of the elevators! Use the knuckle of your little or ring finger to press the buttons," says Miller.

Other suggestions: Order room service rather than eating at the restaurant, 

avoid the exercise room and 

wear a face covering in public spaces.

The hairdresser:
medium to high risk

A haircut involves "close contact and breathing that is extended for several minutes," experts note. 

"This is the primary mode of transmission that we know happens. And cloth masks certainly are not perfect for this."

Janowski says this is one of the highest-risk scenarios on this list, because there's no way to keep 6 feet from someone cutting your hair. "All it takes is [having] one asymptomatic but infected worker, and suddenly many customers are at high risk of infection," he says.

What alters risk? The risk might not be terribly high if both you and your haircutter wear masks and if COVID-19 is not very prevalent in the area. Look for a salon or barbershop that has (and enforces) policies to protect its employees, like

wearing protective gear 

and sanitizing hands
Avoid also stopping to chat at close distance 

Going to vacation with another family: low risk

Experts say that if both families have been quarantining and limiting their exposure to others, this is pretty safe. 

If one family is very active or parents have higher-exposure jobs, then the risk increases,

What alters risk?  talking with the other family beforehand to make sure you share the same expectations for the precautions everyone will take in the two weeks before arrival and while you're there. 

Ensure that no one has signs of illness — if they do, they need to stay home.  

Cleaning the major surfaces in the house on arrival is recommended. 

And the more that people can reduce exposure in the days leading up to the trip, the better," epidemiologists say 

Going shopping at a mall:
risk varies
 

How risky this is depends on 

  • what kind of mall it is,
  • how crowded it is 
  • and how much time you spend there. 

Crowds with high density lead to substantial increase in risk, epidemiologists remind, while  people don't mingle in a single place f or long"

What alters risk? 

  • Outdoor malls are preferable to indoor ones. 
  • And empty malls are better than crowded ones. Avoid the food court and 
  • go with purpose, noot leisure. 
  • Browse online before you go. Know what you're going to pick up or try on. 
  • Wear your mask. 
  • Go in, look at it. Make your decision and get out.
  • Be alert while you're there to avoid close contact. 
  • Try to go at off-peak hours.
  • Bring hand sanitizer,  and use it frequently, especially if you touch any shared surfaces like handrails or elevator buttons.

Exercising outdoors: low risk

Unless you're playing group sports,

 exercising outdoors is a good way to burn off steam while staying socially distant

  • Experts agree that sports such as golf and tennis are safer than contact sports such as basketball and football. 
  • And running? If you're not on a crowded path where people are brushing past each other

What alters risk? The more people involved in the activity, the higher the risk. 

t's possible to spread the virus when you're in close proximity to others — even if you're asymptomatic — so it's best 

to wear a mask if you can't stay socially distanced.

The risk depends on the sport. 

A game like basketball is tricky You're touching the ball and you're going to be breathing in each other's faces,so it woukd be safe playing only with people in your household. 

Going camping: low risk

"As far as summer activities go, this is least risky from a virus perspective," says Katz, of Georgetown. You're outdoors and isolated. 

Miller agrees — but he says that if you're going with a group, be sure you can trust your fellow campers. 

Have they been social distancing and following the guidelines? If not, they could be asymptomatic spreaders of the virus.

What alters risk? Of course, risks can creep in, depending on the particulars.

Camping in an isolated outdoor location with your family is the lower-risk scenario. 

It's more dangerous if you're at a crowded campground with a shared restroom and communal picnic areas, she says. 

Sleeping in tents together with others  can certainly be a setup for transmission.Bottom line: The activity itself is low risk, but the people whom you'll be in close contact with during the trip could increase the hazard.