So, do you want to mingle outside this summer?
People who have been vaccinated and don’t have any underlying health issues probably don’t have to worry about visiting theme parks or going to a concert or baseball game at an unranked stadium, said Linsey Marr, an engineering professor at Virginia Tech, who specializes in how viruses move through the air. (Stadiums with domes or roofs can trap air, increasing the risk of viral spread.)
However, in hot spots with Covid-19 vaccination rates below 30 or 40% or when dashboards show more than an average of 10 daily infections per 100,000 people over a seven or 14 day period, Dr. Marr said she would wear a mask. in a crowded outdoor setting, despite being vaccinated.
And unvaccinated children and adults should mask themselves when standing in line, where people tend to clot for long periods of time, Dr Marr said. She would like her two children, one of whom is partially vaccinated, to wear masks at a theme park whenever they are within six feet of the others; she too would put on hers, in solidarity.
With vaccines due to be approved for U.S. children under the age of 12 no earlier than this summer, decisions about outdoor activities with groups of children are more complex. Throw children’s parties in a park or large yard, if possible, and keep them small, Dr Gonsalves said. A group of 30 children with around 50 parents, some of whom are not vaccinated, would make him suspicious. Dr Marr said bounce houses at outdoor children’s parties should be limited to half their capacity.
Last November, Nooshin Razani, associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco, authored a systematic review of published studies on outdoor virus transmission that has become influential among the decisions-makers. His research uncovered respiratory illnesses spreading in large gatherings that largely took place outdoors, but also included indoor meals and overnight stays indoors.
“When we talk about the inside versus the outside, it’s not very binary actually,” Dr Razani said.
Outright statements about outdoor coronavirus risks this summer have troubled Michael Osterholm, epidemiologist and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. Many people mistakenly assume that outdoor activities are entirely safe when it comes to coronavirus, he said. And he objected to advising people to make outward plans based on local coronavirus infection, Covid-19 hospitalization, or number of vaccinations, as individual and community circumstances vary too much.
“If you go to a family reunion, you can look at the infection rates in your community,” he said. “But at many large outdoor events, if you have a person coming from an outside area, you don’t know where they’re coming from in terms of risk.” He believes that coronavirus transmission that occurs outdoors is unreported or has never been attributed to its external origin, unlike a cluster of cases attributed to the 10-day motorcycle rally last August in Sturgis , SD, or to those who allegedly spread last July during a concert in Minnesota.