12 Holiday Activities That Put You at High Risk for COVID-19

New Year's Eve party
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The holidays are traditionally a time to gather with family, friends and even warm-hearted strangers. But sadly, in 2020, such togetherness can put your health — and even your life — at risk.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, we all will have to be more careful this year.

The doctors on the Texas Medical Association’s COVID-19 Task Force and its Committee on Infectious Diseases recently ranked holiday activities according to how vulnerable they leave you to a coronavirus infection. Each of the 34 activities was assigned a score from 1 to 10, with 10 being the riskiest activities.

According to the TMA, the 12 holiday events that put you at a moderately high or high risk of contracting COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, are:

  • Celebrating New Year’s Eve at a bar or nightclub: 10
  • Attending a large indoor celebration with singing: 10
  • Attending a college house party: 10
  • Attending a homecoming dance: 9
  • Attending an indoor cultural or religious event: 8
  • Hosting a holiday party with friends or family: 8
  • Caroling with a group: 8
  • Shopping in person at stores on Black Friday: 8
  • Attending a Super Bowl party: 8
  • Attending an indoor sports event: 8
  • Attending an indoor holiday craft fair or market: 7
  • Taking photos with Santa: 7

At the other end of this spectrum are activities that carry a low or moderately low risk, which include:

  • Traveling by car to visit family or friends: 3
  • Having Thanksgiving dinner with family or household members: 3
  • Joining a physically distanced outdoor scavenger event: 2
  • Donating canned food: 1
  • Mailing a letter to Santa: 1
  • Building a snowman with your household: 1
  • Viewing holiday lights with your family in your car: 1
  • Watching movies at home with your household: 1
  • Doing a virtual turkey trot or holiday run: 1
  • Shopping for gifts online: 1

You can view the complete ranking on the TMA website.

When ranking these activities, physicians assumed that participants would “wear a mask when practical, stay at least 6 feet away from people who are not household members, and wash their hands frequently.”

In an announcement about the ranking, Dr. Trish Perl, a TMA COVID-19 Task Force member and an infectious disease specialist at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, said:

“Where there are less people or more ability to social or physically distance, that is going to be safer. Think of other ways to connect, like FaceTime, and include them in the celebration without physically being there. Remember, no hugs for Grandma this year.”

Earlier this year, the TMA issued a list of everyday places and activities that leave you most vulnerable to coronavirus infection. For more, check out “15 Places Where You Are Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.”

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