COSAM News Articles 2020 June Coronavirus Risk Levels

Coronavirus Risk Levels

Published: 06/16/2020

By: joyce gossom

As Auburn University and other higher education institutions prepare for a return of students, faculty, staff, and visitors to campus, providing timely information related to the Coronavirus becomes critical. A recent article in featured an interview with four medical professionals to provide guidance on the risk levels associated with common activities. We have captured highlights of the listing here and have also provided a link to the entire article.

The doctors identified five factors that influenced their recommendations on risk factors, “inside or outside; proximity to others; exposure time; likelihood of compliance; and personal risk level.” These experts, and others, agree that outdoor is better than indoor activities and that short interactions are better than lengthy ones. Another area of agreement is consideration of how vigilant the venue is regarding sanitizing, distancing, and wearing/requiring masks.

The activities, in alphabetical order, and the associated average ranking by the Michigan Public Health experts are provided below. The medical experts agree that any activity that includes crowds, alcohol and loud talking or singing/cheering are risker. All of the ratings are provided with the expectation that social distancing of at least 6-feet, consistent disinfecting of surfaces, handwashing, use of hand sanitizer, and personal masking are being implemented.

  • Airplanes, Risk level: 5 (with some doctor ratings higher and some lower)
  • Athletics (bowling), Risk level: 5
  • Athletics (golfing), Risk level: 3
  • Athletics (gyms), Risk level: 8 (individual equipment not group activities recommended)
  • Athletics (outdoor activities like walking, running or bike riding with others), Risk level: 2 (minimize the number of people in the group)
  • Athletics (playgrounds), Risk level: 6 (difficulty with separation)
  • Athletics (playing basketball), Risk level: 7
  • Athletics (public pools), Risk level: 7 (inability to mask, chlorine levels not high enough to effectively reduce risk)
  • Athletics (tennis), Risk level: 1
  • Bars, Risk level: 9 (with one doctor rating of 10)
  • Beaches, Risk level: 5 (with low crowds and distancing)
  • Camping, Risk level: 3
  • Churches, Risk level: 8
  • Dentist and Doctor (offices and waiting rooms), Risk level: 4
  • Dining (indoor dinner parties at a house), Risk level: 5
  • Dining (outdoor dinner parties at a house), Risk level: 5
  • Dining (restaurant buffets), Risk level: 8
  • Dining (restaurant indoor seating), Risk level: 6 (request table not in high traffic area)
  • Dining (restaurant outdoor seating), Risk level: 4
  • Dining (restaurant takeaway dining), Risk level: 1
  • Entertainment (amusement parks), Risk level: 8
  • Entertainment (boat rides), Risk level: 6
  • Entertainment (casinos), Risk level: 6
  • Entertainment (large music concerts), Risk level: 9
  • Entertainment (libraries and museums), Risk level: 3
  • Entertainment (movie theaters), Risk level: 6 (outdoor theaters have lower risk)
  • Entertainment (sports stadiums), Risk level: 8
  • Hair salons and barbershops, Risk level: 6
  • Hotels, Risk level: 3 (higher risk at check-in and dining areas)
  • Offices, Risk level: 4 (experts agree that it is still safer to work from home)
  • Schools, Risk level: 7 (difficulty with separation, sanitizing between groups, handwashing, masking)
  • Shopping (fuel), Risk level: 2
  • Shopping (groceries), Risk level: 3
  • Shopping (malls), Risk level: 5
  • Walking in a busy downtown, Risk level: 4


For details related to each of the risk factors, see the article by Taylor DesOrmeau (3 June 2020) From hair salons to gyms, experts rank 36 activities by coronavirus risk level at: or contact Taylor at

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