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Rating the risk of activities during the COVID pandemic | Wear The Gown

A University Health infectious disease doctor rated the risk of getting COVID-19 for activities.

SAN ANTONIO — In the latest Wear The Gown, KENS 5 asked our viewers, readers what activities they most wanted to take part in, or missed, because of the pandemic. 

A University Health infectious disease doctor rated the risk of getting COVID-19 for those activities.

Keep in mind, we're assuming all activities pose risks for those who are unvaccinated. For those who gave gotten a shot, and are generally healthy, it may look different than it does for those who have health problems, or take medication that affects their immune system.

Dr. Barbara Taylor is an infectious diseases physician with University Health and an Associate Professor of Infectious Diseases with UT Health San Antonio. She used a scale to rate the risk of participating in activities for vaccinated people. One is a lower risk, two is a moderate risk requiring safety measures like masking and social distancing, and three is a high risk. 

1. What is the risk for shopping at a mall? 

Dr. Taylor said, "I just had to do back-to-school shopping for my kids and I wore a mask. My kids wear a mask. And I felt like that was an acceptable risk for myself and my children." She gave that a one a low risk.

2. What is the risk of eating in a restaurant?

Dr. Taylor said, "I would say it's probably a moderate risk, especially if you're close with other people, or if people around you aren't masked." 

3. What is the risk of hugging friends?

Dr. Taylor said, "If you know the person, and they are vaccinated, the risk is low." But she also said, "Where the risk is unknown -- where you don't know the other person's vaccination status, or you don't know if they might have cold symptoms, and not be telling you -- that the risk goes up to moderate or high."  

4. What is the risk of going to the gym for indoor aerobics?

Dr. Taylor said, "With groups of people who you don't know, who you don't know their vaccination status, especially if you're not going to be able to be masked, that can be tricky." She gave that a moderate to high risk.

When it comes to outdoor activities like running or biking, those are generally low risk since you are usually only around someone for a few seconds at most. But, when your are close together at a something like an outdoor concert where you may be around someone for 15 minutes or more, that elevates the risk substantially. 

5. What is the risk of riding motorcycles with my husband who is vaccinated?

Dr. Taylor said, "If you're outdoors by yourself, or with a small group of people, especially if a small group of people are vaccinated, then that's going to be a low risk activity."

For more information about family health, call (210) 358-3045. You can also find the rest of Wear The Gown stories here.

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