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COVID-19 Risk Chart: Why doctors think going to the movies is more dangerous than a medical waiting room

The 14 doctors on the task force were asked to rank activities from 1-10 on the basis of certain criteria.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — On a scale of 1 to 10, how risky is anything in this age of COVID-19??? A task force of doctors and specialists in Texas created this graphic as a quick reference. Fourteen experts in public health were asked:

“Please assign a risk of 1 (least risk) to 10 (riskiest) to each of these activities using the following criteria: Whether it’s inside or outside; proximity to others; exposure time; the likelihood of compliance; and personal risk level.

Please assume that participants in these activities are following currently recommended safety protocols when possible.”

Dr. Ogechika Alozie is on the Texas Medical Association task force. “I'd caution people in saying this is the holy grail. This is a first step to say it's a guide, use your common sense.” First off, outside is always safer than inside. You're not in a confined space with no way for the particles from other people to dissipate.

Take a quick look at what's on the low end of the risk: Opening the mail, getting take-out, playing tennis, camping, pumping gas.

But here's what a lot of people’s attention:  Sitting at a doctor's office,  with all those sick people, is on the low to moderate risk while going to the movies in those big recliners is high risk.

“One of the things about the doctor’s office is, on average they are some of the safest places to be. Why is that??,” Alozie continues, “They are doing universal masking, high-end hygiene, taking temperatures. You're not always doing that in a movie theater. You’re indoors, there’s A/C, people you don't know, you're taking your mask off, eating, drinking, eating a Twizzler. So, you can see how the components to keep yourself safe break down more in a movie theater than a doctor's office.”

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The doctor is all about socializing and living life. He says we need to figure out how to rationally live with COVID-19.

“This is about risk mitigation. Would I potentially share guacamole with someone I haven't seen in a month and we're eating dinner? No. But if it's a family member or someone I see frequently, we're sharing that social pod, it’s ok.”