Is the Risk of COVID-19 Really Less When Outdoors?
People are back to the hustle and bustle of outdoor activities, exercising in the fresh air, and walking around cities and towns with no care in the world. During this pandemic, many people decided to head outdoors instead of being cooped up in their home due to gyms, stores, restaurants, and nightlife being closed down. But does being outside truly lessen the chance of contracting COVID-19?
Yes—in a way. Being outside allows for greater social distancing and fresh air instead of being in a poorly ventilated building; however, in order to minimize the risk, it depends on what type of activities you are doing and how close you are to others.
Read what the experts have to say on this topic.
A recent study in Japan yielded results that show COVID-19 patients were 20 times more likely to catch the virus indoors, compared to an open-air environment.
“Outdoor gatherings lower risk because wind disperses viral droplets, and sunlight can kill some of the virus. Open spaces prevent the virus from building up in concentrated amounts and being inhaled, which can happen indoors when infected people exhale in a confined space for long stretches of time,” said Dr. Julian W. Tang, a virologist at the University of Leicester (NYTimes).
The CDC has a handy dandy guide on outdoor activities. The experts pose three questions to ask yourself before enjoying the fresh air.
- How many people will you interact with?
- Can you keep 6 feet of space between you and others? Will you be outdoors or indoors?
- What’s the length of time that you will be interacting with people?
Whether you are playing sports, are at a pool or beach, or are jogging on a hiking trail, the recommendations that you keep 6 feet apart from others, wear a mask, and sanitize your hands often still are in place.
In conclusion—being outside is definitely safer than being indoors. If you have to choose one, it would be better to decide upon the former. Just be respectful of others and follow the CDC guidelines.
Stay safe out there!
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