How to assess COVID-19 risk in activities you choose this summer

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio)  For many children, school is done (or almost done), and that means it's time for summer activities. But what's safe?

CHOP pediatric infectious diseases Dr. Susan Coffin says when you bring families together either for family gatherings or summer camp, there has to be an understanding that COVID-19 guidelines are being adhered to by everyone.

"With the assumption and sometimes explicit discussion that they will do the same for you,” Coffin said. 

Pediatrician Katie Lockwood adds risk of infection can be reduced when children are taught and encouraged to wash their hands.

And she says while there have been questions about whether children should be expected to wear masks, she says that's the number one non-medical intervention that can lower a community's risk of getting and spreading the virus.

"I mean, no child really likes wearing socks either but we eventually get them past that, so I think it's going to take a little bit of practice and modeling as a parent,” Lockwood said. 

As for family vacations, Coffin recommends traveling in a private vehicle over public transportation and says the greatest risk when it comes to rentals has to do with cleanliness of high touch areas.

"It's relatively easy to stick in your bag disinfectant wipes and wipe things down when you arrive,” she advised. 

What about swimming?

"High concentrations of chlorine may well kill the coronavirus but the concentration of chlorine in pools, public or private, rarely is constant,” Lockwood added. 

Coffin points out that there can be a lot of splashing, sputtering and, frankly, spewing at swimming pools.

"And sadly, that is the way that coronaviruses are spread,” she said.