With summer approaching and the United States (and many other countries) in various stages of reopening, there has been growing concern that COVID-19 infection rates will continue to rise and make it even more difficult to contain the virus. While this doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy your summer, it does suggest that you should be careful and take cover of your surroundings in order to minimize risk of contracting a potentially virulent virus.
Here are some suggestions.
- Restaurants: Outdoor seating is the preferred way to dine during COVID-19 because viral droplets are diluted out and quickly dispersed rather than entrapped and confined in an enclosed space for a period of time. Whether indoor air conditioning may also increase the transfer of virus through air currents, has also recently been suggested. In either scenario, maintaining at least 6 feet distance between tables with face masks for patrons and restaurant personnel seems reasonably prudent.
- Beaches: Good News! COVID-19 is unlikely to pose significant risk of transmission by seawater or even sitting on the sand. However, while the virus is sensitive to heat and the Sun’s ultraviolet light, thereby reducing time of exposure, it can still be transmissible from someone who is actively shedding the virus and within close proximity (less than 6 feet) to an uninfected stranger. Bottom line: maintain a good distance on the beach that is outside of your group.
- Sporting Events: When college and professional sport teams restart play this summer/fall, they will encounter stadium/arenas that are empty or at minimal capacity. But not to worry- games will continue to be broadcast on TV and radio. More importantly and based upon encouraging preliminary data from recent clinical trials, many of us now believe that curative vaccines will be available within the next 6-12 months, after which I look forward to rooting for our home teams in sold-out stadiums.
Michael Miller, MD is a cardiologist and Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology & Public Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. His latest book, “Heal Your Heart: The Positive Emotions Prescription to Prevent & Reverse Heart Disease” is published by Penguin Random House, USA.