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Doctors Rank The Riskiest Things To Do During Coronavirus Pandemic

Getting restaurant takeout is low-risk — while eating inside a restaurant is medium- to high-risk, depending on if you're wearing a mask, according to the rankings.

Maurice Nix, a 25-year regular at The Green Mill, visits the bar on the first day of Phase Four of reopening on Friday, June 26.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — Drinking indoors at a bar and attending a large, indoor gathering are about the riskiest activities you can do during the coronavirus pandemic — even if you’re wearing a mask, according to new rankings from Illinois doctors.

The rankings, first reported on by WTTW’s Kristen Thometz, look at how much risk of exposure a variety of activities creates, covering everything from going to a bar indoors to hugging, visiting an elderly person or trick-or-treating. They rate the riskiness of activities based on if people are wearing a mask and social distancing and if they’re not.

The rankings underscore what officials in Chicago have said for months: Being outside is safer than being indoors, and wearing a mask and social distancing make things much safer. For example, the rankings say getting restaurant takeout is low-risk — while eating inside a restaurant is medium- to high-risk, depending on if you’re wearing a mask.

Going inside a bar and attending a gathering of any kind of 50 or more people are the highest-risk activities, according to the doctors’ rankings.

Hugging and shaking hands are also riskier activities, according to the rankings, as are playing high-contact sports, attending a conference at a hotel and hosting or attending a large dinner party.

Grabbing takeout; jogging, walking or hiking; pumping gas; playing a low-contact sport; and eating outside at a restaurant are among the safest options if you’re trying to avoid coronavirus, and particularly so if you wear a mask and practice social distancing, according to the rankings.

Still, Chicago’s health chief, Dr. Allison Arwady, has said no activity is without risk. She’s repeatedly advised Chicagoans to avoid high-risk scenarios — like gatherings of people — and to wear a mask, practice social distancing and wash their hands frequently.

The rankings come from the Illinois State Medical Society and the Illinois Medical Professionals Action Collaborative Team. They asked 140 doctors of various specialities in Illinois to rated the exposure risk of various activities.

See the full rankings here:

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