As the seasons shift, the temperature drops and the days get shorter. Outdoor activities are harder to come by as the cool air and decreased sunlight cause people to drift indoors, according to news from Indiana University.
This part of the calendar could be more problematic now because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CDC says that wearing masks, keeping 6 feet of space between people and being outdoors all reduce the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. Outdoor activities are safer because of better ventilation and an increased ability to keep distance from others. The virus spreads more easily indoors, which makes health officials nervous about the chillier weather and holidays that cause people to frequently congregate inside.
An option some people could consider is creating a “pandemic pod” with family and/or friends. A pandemic pod is a small group of people or families who limit their non-physically distanced social interactions to each other. These self-contained networks allow for socializing and gathering together with other people who collectively follow a set of health and safety measures.
“The pod you establish should have agreed-upon standards and practices among the small group,” said Graham McKeen, assistant university director of public and environmental health for IU Environmental Health and Safety. “Make sure in advance that the group is on the same page with health and safety measures and behaviors.”
In the unfortunate case of someone within a pod contracting COVID-19, the limited exposure to a small number of people should make it easier to contain and respond appropriately compared to an individual who has not practiced physical distancing or worn masks when around others.
“Pods are of course not impervious from communicable disease, but they can reduce your risk if everyone in it practices those healthful behaviors,” McKeen said. “The smaller the group, the better.”