Dr. Leana Wen: States are reopening—Here's what activities you can do safely and what to avoid

Know Your Value founder and “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski recently chatted with Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and former health commissioner for Baltimore, to get her expert advice.
Image: Virginia reopening
Lauren Koll, 33, a realtor and Katie Lineback, 33, a teacher, eat outdoors at The Village Grill in Virginia on May 15, 2020.Stephanie Klein-Davis / The Roanoke Times via AP

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE
By Know Your Value staff

Many states are starting to lift or ease restrictions on public life and allowing businesses to open their doors again following weeks of lockdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

So, is it safe to visit friends? Can you go to the beach? What about a restaurant?

Know Your Value founder and “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski recently chatted with Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and former health commissioner for Baltimore about these questions many Americans have. Dr. Wen has been a leading voice in public health and a frequent commentator on coronavirus.

Dr. Wen laid out five categories of activity and weighed in on what you can do safely and what you should continue to stay away from.

Exercising

“Exercising is good for your physical and mental health. The weather is getting nicer, and I encourage everyone to exercise outdoors,” said Dr. Wen. “Walk, run, bike and enjoy the fresh air. Going to a gym is much riskier than exercising outdoors. I wouldn't go when there are much better options of the outdoors. In particular, I'd stay away from indoor group exercise classes where people are breathing heavily.”

Doctor visits

Dr. Wen advised telemedicine visits when possible. “If you need to go to the doctor in person, ask about what safety practices they have put into place. Many places screen for temperature and symptoms before patients go in, for example, and require masks. Dental practices have the highest level of respiratory droplets in the air; I'd put off routine dental appointments like cleanings and check-ups for now,” said Dr. Wen.

Visiting friends

Good news. It's probably safe to see your friends if you maintain physical separation in an outdoor space, like a backyard or a park, said Dr. Wen.

“Bring your own drinks, and don't share utensils. Keep an eye on kids, who may have trouble staying at least six-feet apart. I still wouldn't schedule playdates or any indoor gatherings, for now,” said Dr. Wen.

Restaurants

“Takeout is the safest,” said Dr. Wen. “I would not recommend going to a sit-down restaurant, but if you must, outdoor seating with a lot of space around you is safer than indoor dining in a crowded space.”

The beach

“Coronavirus is not transmitted through water. But it could be transmitted where there are crowds,” noted Dr. Wen. “It's fine to go the beach if it's fairly empty and you can stay away from others. If it's more crowded, go to the beach for a walk but don't linger.”