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Know your risk: New COVID-19 activities chart gains popularity

Jesse Vad

The Jakarta Post

California, United States  /  Thu, July 9, 2020  /  01:03 pm
Know your risk: New COVID-19 activities chart gains popularity

During the pandemic, many restaurants have stayed open but only for takeaway. (Shutterstock/weedezign)

A new COVID-19 graphic created by the Texas Medical Association (TMA) that shows the risk of infection from a variety of activities has gained steam on social media.

The graphic is a simple chart that ranks activities by their risk on a scale of 1-9. The lowest risk activities include pumping gas and camping, while high risk activities include going to gyms or bars.

The TMA, an organization of more than 53,000 physicians and medical students throughout Texas, created the chart with their COVID-19 Task Force and Committee on Infectious Diseases, which ranked some of the most popular summer activities in the state. They considered factors such as where each activity took place, how far apart people would be and the amount of time each activity took. Those considerations led to each activity’s risk value.

Since the chart was released on July 3, it has been shared by celebrities and news outlets. Almost a week later and the chart is still being widely circulated on social media.

Dr. Diana Fite, president of the TMA, said the chart was intended for Texans so she was surprised when it exploded on social media across the country.

“We’re happy it did because any chance to get information out on how to try to keep us safer is important,” said Fite.

Still, Fite said the chart shouldn’t be the only resource people relied on since risks could always change.

“It should be taken with a grain of salt,” said Fite. “These are assumptions based on an average.”

Dr. Jay Levy, professor of medicine at University of California, San Francisco, said charts such as that of the TMA’s could be helpful but also warned that people should only trust resources made by qualified health professionals.

Levy also stressed the importance of following proper safety guidelines, such as wearing a mask, physical distancing and washing hands, regardless of the level of risk.

“Please listen to the public health authorities,” said Levy. “It’s easy to follow the advice.”

Fite reiterated the same message and urged people to stay home if they could, wear a mask and wash their hands.

Despite those recommendations, the TMA was a sponsor of the Texas Republican convention, an event that was scheduled to take place this month and expected to see about 6,000 people gathered indoors without a requirement for masks.

The TMA later reversed its decision and recommended that the convention be canceled. The convention was canceled on Wednesday.

Texas has seen record highs in new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations over the past month. 

It’s because of the surge in states like Texas that Fite is emphasizing the necessity of following safety guidelines.

“We just want people to follow those recommendations and try to get this back under control,” said Fite. (kes)

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The writer is an intern at The Jakarta Post.

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