Dr. Rajeev Fernando is one of New York's top infectious disease specialists, and this week he rates the risk of coming in contact with COVID-19 when we're going to different places during the pandemic.

When you need to know what's happening with the coronavirus, join KICKS 105.5 every Thursday morning. Dr. Rajeev Fernando answers your COVID-19 questions.

First off, we have a question from Donna in Mahopac, she's wondering with all the COVID-19 cases. Why do some people experience very mild symptoms of the virus, while others wind up hospitalized?

"That's a great question, I'll put it this way, eighty percent of people will get what we call a mild to moderate syndrome, and about twenty percent of people who get the virus get admitted to a hospital. Multiple risk factors is really what we have, we know the virus disproportionately effects African American's, Hispanics, the indigenous population, people with a high BMI, people with diabetes, the list goes on. It's the risk factors that drives the severity of the illness. Someone who is younger has a less of a risk of being hospitalized, but even if you're 25 and have uncontrolled diabetes, you also have a higher risk of seeing the inside of a hospital."

This week we're going to do something a little different, with so many COVID-19 cases around now, let's rate the risk factor of some different places people visit often. We'll use a scale of 1-10, with 1 being a low risk, and 10 being the highest risk. First off how about restaurants?

"Restaurants are dangerous right now, I certainly wouldn't be out there sitting indoors. Outdoor dining may be acceptable, but there still is transmission outdoors, I want to make sure our listeners understand that, however, it's much less compared to being in a closed space where ventilation is compromised. I would definitely call it a 7 on the risk factor scale".

How would you rate the risk at a supermarket?

"I would have to say it would have to be based on the size of the supermarket. Smaller supermarkets with many people inside would probably pose the higher risk. One thing I try to suggest is try to go when it's either opening time, or close to closing time, there tends to be less people and is probably safer. But remember to keep social distancing and wear a mask. I'd probably rate a supermarket around 5 as a risk factor".

How would you rate the risk at a hair salon?

Now this actually involves very close contact, and we've seen these super spreader events coming out of salons, and barber shops. Just remember, stylists and barbers are universally wearing masks, they also require the customer to wear a mask, and no one takes it off at all, they are very strict, that's why this risk rating is just a 5.

We've saved the most dangerous for last, how about family gatherings?

Oh my goodness, this one's probably going to be way up there. If it's your nuclear family, we're fine. But remember, if it's people from outside that you don't know that well, or people you don't see that much, you don't know where they have gone before they came to see you. They could be spreading the virus without even knowing, especially if they're asymptomatic. For those reasons, and all the other reasons, these gathering have become the number one super spreader events, I would give this one an 11 out of 10.

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