FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – As summer heats up, you may be wondering what sort of outings pose the biggest threat to you and your family.
To understand the relative risks of certain activities, CBS 11 interviewed Dr. Diana Cervantes, an infectious disease epidemiologist with the Health Science Center at the University of North Texas.
The safest thing you can do is stay inside your own home, surrounded by people with whom you’ve already shared close contact.
But if you do venture outside to take part in an activity, Dr. Cervantes said consider three factors:
How many people will be there?
How close is the contact?
How long will you be exposed to other people?
Dr. Cervantes said outdoor activities that do not involve crowds pose the lowest risk of infection.
“If you say are jogging or walking outdoors and somebody briefly passes by you, that’s very low risk,” Dr. Cervantes said.
She also considered grocery shopping a low-risk venture.
“I would say in general, grocery store and general shopping is lower risk as typically people do not spend much time just doing shopping and they can social distance,” Dr. Cervantes said.
Depending on the number of attendees, outdoor gatherings such as picnics pose a low to medium risk.
Dr. Cervantes said when gathering, people should use face coverings and maintain a social distance of six feet.
“The general rule is anybody who is with that person, within six feet for 15 minutes or greater is considered a close contact,” she said.
Instead of throwing her son a birthday party, Karma Nombrano threw her son a birthday picnic Monday at Trinity Park.
She felt the option was safer than the alternative.
“We are able to be separated from everyone else,” Nombrano said. “We didn’t really want to go to a restaurant to celebrate, didn’t really want to be at home because we have been at home the last three months. So we thought we would pick up something from the store and head out here and just celebrate a bit.”
As for dining at restaurants, Dr. Cervantes said outdoor seating always trumps indoor. She advised picking larger establishments that do not appear packed.
“If there are a lot of people, it’s harder to keep that distancing, but also you’re likely to be there longer to get service,” said Cervantes, who added that the safety of indoor environments hinge on social distancing practices, safety protocols taken by staff, and the airflow of the facility.
Dr. Cervantes considered water parks and public pools to pose a medium risk.
While there’s no evidence the virus spreads through water, Dr. Cervantes said the real danger lies elsewhere.
“It’s really about the activity of getting together with people for a long period of time,” said Dr. Cervantes, who recommended attending a smaller community pool over a larger, more crowded facility.
But of all the activities, Dr. Cervantes said the riskiest involve nightclubs, packed bars, concerts or large indoor gatherings where large groups of people will be congregating.
“Of course many times when you’re in a nightclub or bar, there’s music, people speak more loudly,” Dr. Cervantes said. “They are more likely to disperse droplets. That’s when you tend to have higher-risk activity as well.”