Here’s What We Can Do For Fun This Summer With Coronavirus.

Girl swimming underwater. Swimming a the pool is a low risk activity during the summer of coronavirus, as long as we social distance. Alison Escalante MD

I Won’t Send My Kids To The Barbershop, But Outdoor Sports Practice Is Okay (At A Distance)

Everyone I know is wondering how soon we can get back to connecting with each other face-to-face. I do too. But no parent wants to take a chance on their kids getting sick with COVID-19. Not with those terrible inflammatory problems some kids are getting. 

And none of us want to take a chance that we are the 35 year old parent who dies, or that we get Grandma sick with coronavirus. It’s a frustrating and scary time to be raising kids. And while it’s true that many families have discovered good things during the coronavirus pandemic, we are all feeling the stress. 

So what can we do this summer? What is safe? And will any of that actually be fun? 

An article from NPR did a great job of going through different activities that we might do this summer and why they are high or low risk. They grabbed advice from top experts. I’ll go through the list to make it easy for us. But there was a lot of great information in the article and I encourage you to read it if you’d like to know more. Especially why the experts assigned different levels of risk to each activity.

Disclaimer: this is a writeup of advice from top experts at reported by NPR. It reflects the opinions they shared in that article. 

And remember, people can have and share COVID-19 without sharing symptoms. That’s why we have to be so careful. Face-coverings and masks definitely reduce the risk of getting coronavirus. 

Low risk things to do this summer. 

  1. Going to the pool or the beach is low risk. If you can maintain that six feet of social distance both in and out of the water, the risk should be pretty low. And water is not considered likely to transmit the virus. But don’t share pool toys!
  1. Going with another family to a vacation house is considered low risk. If both families have been quarantining (no one has high risk jobs) and they agree on precautions, the experts say to have fun. 
  1. A friend using your bathroom is low risk. Just leave the door open and run the fan after they are done. And consider wiping it down with cleaner just in case. 
  1. Camping or exercising outdoors are low risk. Just remember to maintain social distancing. 

Low to medium risk things to do this summer. 

  1. Gathering in the backyard with one other household. Low to Medium Risk. Be sure to bring your own drinks and DON’T share. It’s also important to avoid sharing utensils, so disposable ones are a good idea. If everyone can remember to stay 6 feet apart and no one is coughing, the outdoor air circulation really reduces our risk of catching coronavirus. 
  1. Using a public restroom is probably low to medium risk. You have to factor in how clean the restroom is. If it’s small and has poor air circulation that’s riskier than a large one. Also, we don’t know yet if flushing the toilet could put coronavirus into the air. The virus is in feces and flushing toilets has been shown to aerosolize other fecal viruses like norovirus. When you gotta go, you gotta go. But be careful about touching surfaces. 
  1. Staying in a hotel is low to medium risk. You can lower your risk by staying in your room, ordering room service rather than eating in the restaurant, and wiping down the TV remote and other high touch objects. 
What can we do safely this summer during the coronavirus pandemic? Will going swimming give us Covid-19? I won't let my kids get a haircut, but I will let them join sports practice outdoors. Learn expert tips about what activities are safe, and which aren't from a pediatrician. #parentingtips #safety #coronavirus #summeractivities

Medium to high risk things to do this summer. 

  1. Eating indoors at a restaurant is considered medium to high risk. So think carefully before you do it. A lot of the problem has to do with how spaced out people are, but also how long they stay. Since people like to hang out for a while at restaurants, they talk longer and that puts droplets into the air. A better option? Outdoor dining. 
  1. Attending an outdoor wedding or party with more than 10 people is medium to high risk. Yikes. The atmosphere of celebration, the feeling of safety with family and the alcohol all reduce people’s likelihood to stay six feet apart. 
  1. Getting a haircut is medium to high risk. And there it is. My kids and husband are doomed to continued “quarantine cuts” from me. Haircuts are close contact, and you can’t easily wear a mask while getting one. 
  1. Going to the mall. No-one is quite sure about this. The risk could be high in certain circumstances. 

High risk things to the this summer. (AVOID)

  1. Attending an indoor religious service is high risk. This is a big one. Religion is of great importance in so many lives, but some of the worst cases of spreading coronavirus are happening at religious gatherings. At a rural Arkansas church, 35 out of 92 people who were at the service developed COVID-19. The culprit? Indoor air circulation is poor and singing really throws coronavirus into the air. Even at churches where everyone stood far apart, the outbreaks keep happening. 
  1. Going to a Nightclub (or a bar) is high risk. Alcohol and crowds are a great setting for an outbreak, and they are happening. 

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Author: Alison Escalante MD

Alison Escalante MD is a Pediatrician, TEDx Speaker, Writer and Mother on a mission to help parents caught in the culture of criticism.

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