Summer during a pandemic brings new questions about what is safe and how to best protect ourselves.
Is it okay to go to a public pool? Travel by plane? Stay in a hotel? Send a kid to camp?
On the upside, public health experts say, we can do more outdoors, where ventilation is better and sunlight and humidity might help destroy the virus. Working against us: Many of us cooped up for much of the spring are craving connection. Meanwhile, staying away from others in traditional summer scenarios — at cookouts, on beaches, during family gatherings — can be difficult, if not impossible. And many summer activities children typically take part in — sports leagues, day camps and sleep-away camps — pose their own challenges.
The Washington Post asked three public health experts what they and their families will — and won’t — do this summer, and what precautions they will take.
“Yes, we have to get back to having fun,” said Richard Jackson, a pediatrician and professor emeritus at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. “But we need to do it very carefully and differently until we have this infection under control.”
What, in general, will you consider when deciding where to go and what to do this summer?
The experts say they will continue to limit contact with anyone outside their households and keep any gatherings small.
“I won’t expand my sphere too much,” Jackson said.
Marybeth Sexton, an assistant professor at the Emory University School of Medicine, said she is aware that the risk of exposure is increasing as more people venture out.
“I’ll really try to keep anything I do small and outdoors as much as possible — and with people who will be wearing a mask,” Sexton said.
Julie Fischer, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Georgetown University, said she and her family will remain extra vigilant so they can feel safer visiting grandparents later in the summer.
“I’ll be thinking about how much I’m in contact with other people,” Fischer said, “particularly people whose risk background we don’t know about.”
Would you go to a public pool?
While many public pools are closed, two of the three experts said they would consider going if pools do open. The pool itself is relatively low-risk because chlorine generally kills viruses, they said. It is all the other activity in and around the pool that is worrisome — kids splashing and playing close to one another, people congregating at the snack bar, and poolgoers together in changing rooms...Read More..