avoid COVID-19 as the world opens up 

How to avoid COVID-19 as the world opens up 


Two months ago, we talked here about basic measures to help avoid a COVID-19 infection—keeping a distance from others, washing hands, and not touching your face. Now that people are going out more, here are more advanced suggestions.

Outside much safer 

Our most important message— being outside is much safer than being inside. Plan your meetings or encounters with others outside whenever possible. A recent Japanese study estimated the risk of becoming infected is 19 X greater if you are inside compared to being outside. 

When inside, any virus exhaled by others is in a higher concentration. When outside, especially with wind, the virus concentration is diluted and you are less likely to inhale a sufficient dose to infect you.

When you are inside, if possible, leave windows open, so the inside air is diluted. Air conditioning can be a problem as it can recirculate infected air. 

Person-to-person transmission most important

Most people are infected by respiratory droplets given off by others, then inhaled into your nose. Less commonly you can be infected by touching an infected surface, then touching your face. But most people are infected by being too close to other people who give off the virus.

While some health authorities recommend a 1.5 meter distance between people, the United States recommendation is 2 meters, even when masks are being used. We recommend this 2-meter guideline. 

If you become infected is a product of how close you are to an infected person, as well as the time you are close to them. The longer you are close, the greater the risk, so keep personal contacts with others brief. Remember, they can be infected and not know it (asymptomatic carrier).


Only go to a market where everyone uses masks, and does not allow overcrowding. Go when it is less crowded, and make a list in advance (in order of how you will encounter the products) so you don’t waste time. Get in and out without delay, and keep 2 meters distant from others as best as you can. Don’t touch any handrails and use gel after touching keyboards and when exiting the store.


A high-risk situation from many aspects. A crowded restaurant or bar should not be entered. If you go you should keep spaced from others, and use alcohol gel after touching the menu and items such as salt shakers. Use a debit-credit card rather than cash. Keep the dinner short, and dine outside or near an open window if you can.

Public transport

Still very risky. If you must use, make sure everyone is using a mask, and keep away from others as best you can. Sit or stand close to an open window if possible. Especially if someone is coughing or seems ill, keep your distance, with your head pointed away. Use gel after exiting, and don’t touch your face while there.

Public bathrooms

Still risky and avoid if you can. Bring alcohol gel and use after exiting. Remember the door handle you touch exiting might have virus. Avoid bathrooms that use air hand driers, which blow around virus and bacteria.

In a car

Keep windows open as much as you can. Air conditioning may recirculate virus. If you are a passenger and you can, sit in the back seat, on the passenger side, You are not being rude. Just explain that it is best with everyone at a safe distance. 

In elevator

See if your building can institute a one person (or one family) per cabin rule. If not, keep distance from others as much as you can, and avoid talking (talking spreads more virus). Use a tissue or tip of your key to press the buttons, and use gel after exiting. 

At work

Keep distance, use masks, and keep windows open if possible. Avoid unnecessary meetings and keep them short.

Gyms and churches 

Both are risky. It has been shown that singing (as in churches) can spread infected droplets far beyond normal distancing protections. Gyms may have people breathing hard and fast and potentially spreading more virus, particularly in a closed room (like a spinning class). 

When walking

Outdoor walking is considered relatively safe, but keep 2 meters apart from people not in your immediate household, When you see someone you want to talk to, keep your mask on as you talk.

Finally, remember to always keep a small bottle of alcohol gel with you whenever you go out. You may find situations where you need it, for example, after using an electronic cash machine. We will keep you updated with future recommendations as needed! Be safe!

To find a doctor, of any specialty, anywhere in Brazil, check out our website: www.ProcuraMed.com.

See also in ProcuraMed:

 A link between religion, spirituality, and health

Four ways to lessen loneliness while social distancing 

Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

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This post is related to specialty Infectious Disease. Below is a list of some physicians related to this specialty.