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Weighing the risks of summer activities as COVID-19 cases spike in Houston area

HOUSTON – As the summer season heats up, and Texas continues its grand reopening, cases of COVID-19 are spiking in the Houston area in recent days. And that has some families wondering which activities are safe and which ones aren’t.

Colleen Casady, a mother of five, is just now starting to make plans for her family.

“We didn’t go anywhere for about two months,” she said. Casady wonders which activities are “low risk” or “high risk.” KPRC 2 set out to do that as well, but it became apparent that the methodology in various “risk rankings” was flawed.

A false sense of security

The CDC has guidance on summer activities, including camps and youth sports, as well as travel. NPR published a story in which experts ranked 14 popular summer pastimes. But Dr. Prathit Kulkarni of Baylor College of Medicine says these safety ratings can create a false sense of security.

“Even if you rank it lower risk, it could suddenly become high risk because of what a facility is doing or not doing,” Kulkarni said.

Whether it’s a trip to the beach or pool or staying in a hotel or an Airbnb, the key is knowing exactly what you’re getting into and asking specific questions about crowd-size, disinfecting procedures, social distancing measures and face-covering rules.

The bottom line is don’t assume that because something ranks a backyard barbecue as “low risk,” that it is. In addition to the factors above, it also depends on your own family’s risk tolerance. Just how willing are you to risk your own health and the health of others you may come in contact with after the activity is finished?