Is it safe to go to the beach during a pandemic? What you should know


Editor’s Note: As the pandemic continues, CNN does not advise people to engage in these activities. But if you’re going to do it, there are ways to mitigate the risks. Fully vaccinated people are, of course, at a much lower risk of contracting and spreading the coronavirus than people who have not been vaccinated. CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen advises approaching your activity decisions with that in mind.

(CNN) – With summer just around the corner and more people getting their Covid-19 vaccines, you may be wondering if going to the beach is a safe bet.

Even for people who have been fully vaccinated, “nothing is going to be 100% safe, just like nothing is going to have a 100% risk,” said Dr. Leana Wen, CNN medical analyst, emergency room physician and professor. health policy visitor and at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. However, beaches “are much safer than other environments because they are outdoors.”

Pictured is St. Kilda Beach in Dunedin, New Zealand. As the world slowly reopens, visiting beaches may be safer than traveling to inland destinations.

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“We have not seen that (the coronavirus) can spread in water,” said Dr. Ada Stewart, a family physician at Cooperative Health in Columbia, South Carolina, and president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Whether you’re at the beach alone or with fully vaccinated family or friends, Stewart added, having your own area to relax helps lower your risk.

Always check local government, public health office and beach regulations in advance, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended Beach managers may require reservations or have limited capacity. Also, plan to arrive “ready to swim” by showering and changing at home first.
For times when you need to be closer to people, such as when visiting the bathroom or food stall, wear a mask, carry hand sanitizer, and wash your hands. The CDC has advised beach managers to ensure that there is enough equipment, such as chairs and other supplies, for visitors and that everything is cleaned regularly. However, carrying hand sanitizer and sanitizing spray or wipes would be helpful to clean the equipment yourself.
If you need to shower or rinse on the beach, try to physically distance yourself from others or go in when the area is not crowded. Bring an extra mask in case your first mask gets wet; According to the CDC, a wet mask is less effective. And don’t wear your mask in the water, as a wet mask can also make it difficult to breathe.

Stay away, on land and in the water, from people who do not live with you. Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor areas.

The coronavirus is commonly transmitted through respiratory droplets during close physical contact, so Wen is more concerned “about what happens if people leave the beach and end up going to the bar.” Even if people are at a distance in places like indoor bars and restaurants, it’s best to wear a mask if you might be sharing air.

For extended beach breaks, plan ahead what snacks, meals, and drinks you’ll enjoy, and where and how you’ll enjoy them, while you’re there. Outdoor restaurants and bars are ideal, Wen said.

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