Certain Venues Increase COVID-19 Risk, Researchers Find



Researchers have calculated which venues increase your risk of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. For example, the Texas Medical Association ranked 37 common activities on a scale of 1-10, with the higher numbers indicating those with the most risk of viral transmission. According to Fox News, activities the Texas doctors considered to be low risk on the spectrum included opening the mail, getting restaurant takeout, playing tennis, camping and grocery shopping.

Attending amusements parks, working out at a gym, eating at a buffet, playing football or basketball, and even hugging a friend were considered much riskier. The complete graph can be seen here.

According to U.S. News & World Report, Dr. Karen Ravin, chief of infectious Diseases at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, said that in general, outdoor activities are safer than those indoors and shorter activities are safer than long ones.

A new study published this week in the journal Nature offers some new insight into superspreader places so that you can reduce your risk of transmission by avoiding these ”points-of-interest,” or taking recommended precautions, such as wearing masks and social distancing.

Researchers from Stanford University and Northwestern University published their data on Tuesday that found restaurants, gyms, cafes and hotels among the most frequently visited places accounting for the majority of spread, according to Eat This, Not That! The authors added that, according to their model, restricting occupancy reduced the risk of spreading the virus.

“Our model predicts that capping points-of-interest at 20% of maximum occupancy can reduce the infections by more than 80%,” said Jure Leskovec, associate professor of computer science at Stanford University, during a press conference.

Researchers noted that “infections are happening very unevenly” — with approximately 10% of points-of-interest accounting for over 80% of all infections. “These are places that are smaller, more crowded and people dwell there longer,” Leskovec added. The authors warned that full-service restaurants are extremely high-risk venues and reopening them could send coronavirus infections skyrocketing. Businesses in lower income residential areas were also deemed high-risk because they have, on average, ”60% more people per square foot and visitors stay 17% longer,” wrote the study authors.

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