CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Wearing a mask and social distancing can greatly reduce your risk of catching COVID-19, but did you know some activities can put you at greater risk for catching the virus?
As people try to live their lives as normally as possible during the novel coronavirus pandemic, many everyday activities, which we take for granted, now are considered risky.
Throughout the pandemic, officials have stressed the importance of staying home unless absolutely necessary.
“I got two good dogs, a good wife; I’m happy at home, happy that’s where I’m going now,” said George Taylor.
Others have specific reasons for staying home.
“My mom had a double transplant two years ago,” said Dominique Moreno. “We live with her, so we try to limit ourselves going out.”
But if you have to go out, how do you know what’s risky and what isn’t?
The Texas Medical Association put together a chart which ranks behaviors on a scale from one to nine.
“The idea behind the table, I believe, is just to consider some activities which put you at a higher risk than others,” said Dr. Jaime Fergie, Director of Infectious Diseases at Driscoll Children’s Hospital.
According to the chart, opening your mail is a one, the lowest risk level. Going to a bar is a nine, the highest. Most outdoor activities are on the lower end of the risk spectrum. Indoor activities are riskier, and the more people there are, the riskier the activity.
So how risky are people being?
“Going to the restaurants and eating at the bar, or something like that,” said Ron Little.
Eating inside a restaurant is a seven -- the same risk level as traveling by plane.
“We went to a family member’s house,” said Moreno.
That’s a five -- same as going to the beach.
According to Fergie, the chart is a good reference tool for people, but it wasn’t compiled through scientific study.
“This is not a study of the actual risk of participating in those activities; that’s not it,” he said. “This was put together by asking a group of highly qualified individuals their personal opinions.”
And if risky behavior can’t be avoided?
“Physical distancing, wearing a mask, all that -- you can mitigate those risks quite a bit, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” said Fergie.
Health officials stress that if people keep engaging in risky behavior, COVID-19 will keep spreading out of control.