In the time of coronavirus, outdoor activities seem to be among the safest--as long as people follow a few guidelines - NYTimes

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As states move to relax restrictions intended to fight the coronavirus pandemic, even the simplest outdoor activities seem fraught with a thousand questions and calculations.

Is it safe to meet friends in the park, as long as they stay six feet away, on the other side of a blanket? What about a burger and beer at an outdoor restaurant? How risky is a trip to the beach or swimming pool with the kids?

The good news: Interviews show a growing consensus among experts that, if Americans are going to leave their homes, it’s safer to be outside than in the office or the mall. With fresh air and more space between people, the risk goes down.

But experts also expressed particular caution about outdoor dining, using locker rooms at pools and crowds in places like beaches. While going outside can help people cope with quarantine fatigue, there is a risk they will lower their guard or meet people who are not being safe.

“I think going outside is important for health,” said Julia L. Marcus, an epidemiologist and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. “We know that being outdoors is lower risk for coronavirus transmission than being indoors. On a sunny, beautiful weekend, I think going outside is indicated, but I also think there are things to do to reduce our risk.”

MoBikeFed comment: We know that outdoor recreation is vitally important to our physical health, but our mental health as well. It is good that experience and research is showing that outdoor activity is quite safe, even in the time of coronavirus, as long as reasonable social distance is maintained.

Among the findings are the outdoor activities, where any virus particles are mixed with a much larger quantity of fresh air than is possible for indoor locations, are in general much safer than indoor activities in enclosed spaces.