Coronavirus risk chart: How different activities are ranked in terms of COVID-19 exposure risk

Chart compares risk associated with playing different sports, visiting certain businesses

DETROIT – A “coronavirus risk chart” that ranks the risk levels of different activities in terms of being exposed to COVID-19 has been circulating on social media.

Local 4′s Dr. Frank McGeorge took a look at how the chart can be useful and what its limitations are.

The chart was created by the Texas Medical Association. It says the risk of spreading any infectious disease depends on a number of different factors that essentially boil down to the dose of infectious material to which a person is exposed.

In the case of COVID-19, factors such as the length of time near an infected person, how much virus they’re excreting and how much airflow there is to carry infected droplets and aerosols away. They’re all important factors in ranking risk, the chart says.

Consider the risk of playing golf or basketball. According to the Texas Medical Association’s chart, golf is less risky. Golf doesn’t require close contact, it’s outdoors and it’s easier to wear a face covering.

Golfers also aren’t usually breathing heavily enough to generate infectious aerosols, while basketball is largely the opposite, experts pointed out.

The chart was created based on input from Texas physicians who are members of the state’s coronavirus task force.

There isn’t an exact formula to the rankings, but they are based on what we know about the virus and common sense.

Ranking assume participants take as many precautions as they can. That’s important because the risks change when people aren’t careful.

Libraries and museums are safer than salons and barbershops, according to the chart. But for a barber wearing a mask in a well-ventilated area, it might be safer than going to poorly ventilated museums and standing next to strangers without masks.

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