Looking ahead to the risk of summer activities in the face of COVID-19

Published: Jun. 1, 2020 at 2:40 PM EDT
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Summer fun is being altered by COVID-19 closures, with pools closed across our region and summer camps canceled.

WSAZ sat down Friday with Pikeville Medical Center's infectious disease specialist to find out the risk of summer activities from backyard gatherings to a day at the pool.

Dr. Fadi Al Akhrass says "there's not a zero-risk activity," but there are plenty of safe activities.

"Golf, tennis, hiking, exercising, and running — all these are wonderful activities to do in the summertime," Al Akhrass said.

A backyard gathering or barbecue is considered low risk based on the group size. Al Akhrass recommends to lower the risk further, avoid sharing food, drinks, utensils, and use disposable paper plates and silverware.

"If you have people coming to your house, you pick them, you trust them and you know the people you are basically inviting to your house. I think having some type of barbecue, lunch, or dinner in the backyard is low risk," he said.

Dr. Al Akhrass suggests avoiding alcohol, as it can impair people's judgment about social distancing.

Spending the day at a beach or pool is considered low risk as long as you practice social distancing guidelines on water and land.

"If you're in a pool or at the beach, the chlorine and the salt will help in cleaning the water. The water itself is not a risk factor for transmitting the virus.," Al Alkhrass said. "Keep in the mind that you have to keep the 6-foot distance in water and on land. This is the key."

Activities Al Akhrass says to avoid are contact sports such as football, basketball and golf.

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