Covid-19: Here’s how risky normal daily activities are, according to doctors

Grocery shopping is a moderate-to-low-risk activity. Getty Images
Grocery shopping is a moderate-to-low-risk activity. Getty Images

How risky is it to visit a hair salon? Sit at a restaurant? Go to a movie theatre? As more and more business sectors open shop, South Africans are asking themselves these questions every day. Now, there’s a new chart that might offer some answers. 

READ MORE: Visiting a hair salon under level 3? If these 7 safety precautions aren't adhered to, it's a red flag

The Texas Medical Association’s coronavirus task force recently released a chart that lists common activities and shows what level of risk each one has attached to it. Each activity is measured with a 1 – 9 scale that measures the risk (where 1 indicates the lowest risk and 9 indicates the highest) and categorizes them into 5 different risk-level categories. 

“What the task force saw was that [people needed something visual] to understand better, given that there’s a lot of information [to sift through] out there,” Dr Erica Swegler, a doctor on the task force, said in a statement.

“Every single outdoor activity is lower risk than anything indoors. People will have to decide what risk they think is reasonable for themselves and their families to take in order to live their lives.”

The ranking - on a scale of 1 to 10 - goes as follows:

Low-risk activities

- Opening the mail (1)

- Getting restaurant takeout (2)

- Playing tennis (2)

- Going camping (2)  

READ MORE: Now that we've all been washing our hands, here are 5 items you should be sanitising regularly too

Moderate-to-low risk activities

- Grocery shopping (3)

- Going for a walk, run, or bike ride (3)

- Playing golf (3)

- Staying at a hotel for two nights (4)

- Sitting in a doctor’s waiting room (4)

- Going to a library or museum (4)

- Eating in a restaurant (outside) (4)

- Walking in a busy downtown (4)

- Spending an hour at a playground (4) 

- Moderate risk activities

- Having dinner at someone else’s house (5)

- Attending a backyard barbecue (5)

- Going to a beach (5)

- Shopping at a mall (5)

- Sending kids to school, camp, or daycare (6)

- Working a week in an office building (6)

- Swimming in a public pool (6)

- Visiting elderly relatives or friends in their home (6) 

Moderate-to-high risk activities

- Going to a hair salon or barbershop (7)

- Eating in a restaurant (inside) (7)

- Attending a wedding or funeral (7)

- Travelling by plane (7)

- Playing basketball (7)

- Playing football (7)

- Hugging or shaking hands when greeting a friend (7) 

- High-Risk Activities

- Eating at a buffet (8)

- Working out at a gym (8)

- Going to an amusement park (8)

- Going to a movie theatre (8)

- Attending a large music concert (8)

- Going to a sports stadium (8)

- Attending a religious service with 500+ worshippers (8)

- Going to a bar (8) 

Gauteng on its way to becoming the epicentre of Covid-19 in SA

As of 8 July 2020, South Africa had identified 215 855 Covid-19 positive cases. Of these, 102 299 people have recovered; 110 054 of the cases are active and 3 502 people have died.

Gauteng has recently been experiencing a surge in positive cases and it’s looking like it will soon be the epicentre of the pandemic in the country with 71 488 cases. Western Cape, which is currently the epicentre of the pandemic, has 72 156 cases. 

In a recent interview with Cape Talk, minister of health Dr Zweli Mkhize noted what was happening in Gauteng.

“As we speak right now, Gauteng is the one area where the number has shot up quite high. This is concerning, although we did expect them to reach these levels,” he said.

He also mentioned that while it’s possible that some restrictions might be enforced again, nothing has been confirmed yet.

“We might move to some kind of restrictions [but] no decisions have been taken yet.” 

This article was originally published in Women's Health SA

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