Despite the high number of COVID-19 cases and the lack of a coronavirus vaccine, some states have started to reopen. As warmer weather rolls in, people are beginning to take advantage of the summer in areas where lockdown orders have been lifted. However, that doesn’t mean you should go back to life as it was before the pandemic. Leann Poston, MD, a medical expert for Ikon Health, says you should always weigh the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 before you make plans. So, read on, and discover the most dangerous summer activities you should avoid right now during the coronavirus. And for more spots to watch out for, check out the 7 “Safe” Places Where You Could Catch Coronavirus.
1Take a workout class
A group of adult women are dancing in a fitness studio. They are wearing athletic clothes. An Ethnic woman is smiling while dancing in the foreground.
Breaking a sweat is great for your health and fitness, but you might want to do so at home. Popular exercise classes are likely to cause a high risk of infection, according to a study published on May 15 in the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal. In Cheonan, South Korea, 112 COVID-19 cases were traced back to fitness dance classes in 12 different sports facilities. A combination of “large class sizes, small spaces, and intensity of the workouts” are reported to be responsible for the outbreak. The study also notes that “the moist, warm atmosphere in a sports facility coupled with turbulent air flow generated by intense physical exercise can cause more dense transmission of isolated droplets.”
2Go to a nightclub or bar
Excited friends toasting with beer glasses at pub
Summer is prime time for going out, but you’ll likely need to table those late-night festivities. Not only are you in large crowds with little to no spacing, but you’re also less likely to follow social distancing rules if you’re under the influence of alcohol. South Korea even reported a new outbreak of at least 54 coronavirus cases the first weekend of May after one infected man visited five nightclubs and bars within one commercial district. And for more dangerous activities, check out An Infectious Disease Doctor Ranks the Riskiness of Your Daily Activities.
3Eat inside a restaurant
Closeup side view of group of mid 20’s employees taking a lunch break at a restaurant.
Your summer brunch plans may need to wait. A crowded restaurant is one spot that you’re likely to be infected with the coronavirus, as the risk of exposure is high. If you’re still wanting to dine-in this summer, Poston recommends technically “dining out” at well-spaced tables in an outdoor restaurant area. And for more ways to stay safe inside, check out The One Thing That Could Keep You Safe From COVID-19 in Any Indoor Space.
4Shop in a mall
A modern floor with legs of a crowd walking in a shopping mall in the background
Malls will certainly be packed this summer, but if you’re tying to minimize your risk of exposure to the coronavirus, Poston recommends crossing them off your to-do list. It’s hard to maintain social distancing in shopping centers, especially when stores are significantly smaller, walkways are narrow, and food courts are crowded with people. Even if you’re wearing a mask, if someone else near you is not, they could spread the coronavirus to passers-by.
5Swim in a public pool
group of kids are taking a swimming class at an indoor pool. They are practicing kicking at the side of the pool, while smiling at the camera.
While Poston says going to the beach is relatively low risk, not all water-based activities are. Nikola Djordjevic, MD, practicing physician and co-founder of MedAlertHelp, says going to a public swimming pool is “one of the most dangerous activities to do this summer.” He explains that not only are you most likely to encounter a number of infected areas (like door handles and swimming ladders), but the chlorine levels in a public pool may not kill the virus, either.
“Most swimming pools are treated with high concentrations only overnight, not during hours of operation,” Djordjevic says. “The concentration needed to keep pools safe is over 10 percent, which is not ideal for swimming. Even though chlorine has been proven to be an effective killer of COVID-19 and other viruses, it’s not effective when it’s diluted into an enclosed pool with lots of people going in and out through the course of the day.”
6Attend a wedding
church wedding ceremony flowers decor
As much as you may want to celebrate the union of a loved one and their partner, this event is one that includes a high possibility of exposure for a long period, says Poston. After all, you’re sitting through an entire ceremony with other people who may be circulating infected viral particles around the venue. Outdoor weddings have less of a risk because there’s fresh air and it’s easier to social distance, but in-person weddings should still continue to be postponed for the summer. And if you’re curious as to what other experts are doing, check out I’m an Infectious Disease Doctor. Here’s How I Decide What’s Safe to Do and What’s Not.