Where is ‘teaching a class of 50 students’ on this scale?

Just asking, since that’s what I’ll be doing next month.

Also on that list…gosh, I miss going to the movie theater. A hot summer evening like tonight would be exactly the time I’d walk down to the theater, no matter what was playing, to sit back and enjoy the atmosphere, and the air conditioning. I haven’t done that in a long time. High risk, huh…guess I won’t be doing that for a while.


  1. nomdeplume says

    Where is “wearing a red MAGA hat” on the list? Or is that off the scale?

  2. John Morales says

    I reckon in the moderate-low category, given proper protocols which are followed.

  3. blf says

    @2, That’s technically a scale of 1–9
    I think you mean “That’s texasically a scale of 1–10”.

  4. John Morales says


    That’s technically a scale of 1-9…

    No, it explicitly says 1-10, even if the examples provided only go to 9.

    Presumably, a 10 would be something like a known infectious person french-kissing someone. That would be an extreme risk.

  5. Hatchetfish says

    Interesting how absolutely nowhere on this list is any form of employment. It’s all either recreational activities or framed from a consumer’s side: “grocery shopping”, not “checking groceries”, “going to a hair salon”, not “cutting hair”. No mention of ” office work”. Obviously worrying the workers might affect shareholder value, so the Texas Medical Association can’t possibly comment on the safety of people engaged on the other side of these activities by necessity, just the Karens.

  6. says

    @7 Hatchetfish

    The point, I believe, would to be consider a list of risks one might choose to take, or not.

    The people working in those places aren’t even given a choice, what would be the use of scaring or shaming them with an infographic like this?

  7. raven says

    You might not have to worry about it.
    With the skyrocketing Covid-19 infection rates, there is a good chance the schools and universities will all be distance learning this fall.
    At least after the first clusters of infected students.
    U. of Washington has a large outbreak among their fraternities and fall school hasn’t even started.

    Here on the west coast, there are outbreaks everywhere now.
    One of the fastest growing groups for infections is children under 10.
    Part of this is daycares but most of it seems to be random community spread.

    The clusters are wherever there are groups of people, food processing plants, nursing homes, prisons, sports teams, daycares, churches, bars etc..

  8. jimzy says

    Save money! Instead of going to the theater, amusement park or eating out, just go to a large church service (and don’t tithe).

    It is amazing how many people don’t cover up. I’m going to start wearing a face shield as well. Got to go to the hardware store and buy some weatherstripping. That’s at least a 3!

    This chart should be required posting on all places of gathering. Especially churches.

  9. leerudolph says

    John Morales@6: “Presumably, a 10 would be something like a known infectious person french-kissing someone. That would be an extreme risk.”

    I think it’s scandalous (as a matter of public health, which certainly should be part of the Texas Medical Association’s purview) that there is no guidance on the relative safety of various sex-related activities. Obviously some, like your example, are very high risk; and french-kissing someone not known to be infectious would be nearly as high risk, in a range depending on (probably unknown) levels of undiagnosed cases in the relevant community. What about genital contact (bilateral or unilateral)? I’ve seen (but can’t remember the details, nor cite the source) exactly one paper (preprint?) investigating possible virus shedding in semen. Is “safe sex” as (presently or formerly) defined for known STDs also safe for Covid-19? Many sex workers (I would assume) are even more economically precarious these days than public-facing workers in general; are they taking risks they find hard to avoid? Among the people who are (against advice and what I think is good sense) going out to drink in bars, I assume at least as great a fraction as before the pandemic are looking for a sexual experience (“at least as great” because by definition these people are risk-takers) with a stranger, someone whose Covid-19 infection status is by definition unknown. And so on and so forth.

  10. stwriley says

    If it’s a class of college students, probably about the same as “going to a bar” unless they’re all masked, then more like “eating in a restaurant”. If they’re teenagers, then it’s a 10 without question.

  11. cartomancer says

    I’m also guessing that going to a Spinal Tap concert would be an 11…

  12. hemidactylus says

    Where is getting progressively drunker with dog barking at neighborhood idiots shooting fireworks on an unprecedented scale? I think I have happy pills for her somewhere in case of hurricane. Maybe not high enough dosage for me.

  13. hemidactylus says

    Is anyone else in WWIII with fireworks? Hope dog doesn’t have cardiac. My nerves are shot. Hope her meds kick in.

  14. hemidactylus says

    All is good. She’s chilling in my lap not caring as much about mortar explosions because antianxiety meds. We are sharing a buzz together. Fucking rednecks and explosions.

  15. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Hemidactylus #17, also happening where I live. They’ve been doing it all week but have stopped before my bed time. Hopefully they’ll do the same tonight.

  16. Pierce R. Butler says

    hemidactylus @ # 17: Is anyone else in WWIII with fireworks?

    Yup. Fortunately, none close enough to severely agitate neighbors’ canines. I know of some veterans probably getting quite twitchy, and hopefully not too drunk, tonight.

  17. DanDare says

    Movie theatres reopenned here in Queensland. I think of it as a reward for our determination to keep the virus out.
    Sadly its all gone wrong down in Victoria.
    The federal government tried to blame the BLM protests but it turns out to be a for profit corporation failure at the quarantine locations.

  18. whheydt says

    As regards fireworks… They’ve been going off in the evenings for pretty much the last month. This despite that they are ALL illegal locally.

    A local article I read pointed out that if one sets ones house on fire by using illegal fireworks, the homeowners or renters insurance company will refuse to cover the damage. If someone sets their neighbors house on fire, the neighbors insurance will cover the damage.

  19. says

    The closest listed events — large group of people sitting in the same place for a prolonged period in an enclosed space — are around 6 to 8.

    @#23, whheydt:

    What does the insurance company do if you burn your neighbor’s house down because they were setting off fireworks? (Asking for a friend.)

  20. bcwebb says

    I’m going to say something positive about Walmart; They say that they will be converting, in combo with DeNiro’s Tribecka films, 160 of their parking lots to drive-ins starting in August. Maybe there’ll be one with-in a few hundred miles of you….

  21. Hatchetfish says

    @8, indeed. White collar work still stands out as the only occupation present though.

    @9, a fair point, except for all the employers likely to hold up the list up and say “See? Assembly line work’s not even on the list. Totally safe. Lose the mask, it interferes with productivity.” …Ask this essential worker how I know.

  22. says

    RE: Fireworks – Driving through town, I saw someone setting of what I would guess to be 6-8″ mortars over a residential neighborhood. The shells were bursting about 50ft over the houses. It’ll be a wonder if that whole neighborhood isn’t ashes by morning.

  23. cartomancer says

    To be honest, though, I’m not sure this chart is very helpful. Sure, it gives a rough sense of the risk of various activities in a purely comparative sense, but what exactly does each increment of the scale mean in practical terms?

    Does each level equate to a 10% chance of catching the virus on average? Probably not since opening the post in the morning would be certain to give it to you after ten days. So what chance of catching it (on average) does it equate to? And if it’s lower than 10% per increment then why does the scale only go up to 10? Is there a point on the scale after which you are recommended not to do the activity?

    Also, surely each activity varies in risk depending on all sorts of factors. How prevalent is the virus in your area for one. How many people are present and how close they are together for another. “attending a wedding” could be a gathering of hundreds of people standing in very close proximity for half a day or a gathering of four or five people standing further apart for half an hour. “going to a bar” could likewise mean being in a large room with four or five other people a long way off for half an hour or packed in with dozens of others all night. Yes, you could probably do a rough average, but why is that more helpful than just explaining the factors involved and allowing the individual to come to their own assessment? It’s not like these ratings are particularly specific and precise after all.

  24. blf says

    cartomancer@14, “I’m also guessing that going to a Spinal Tap concert would be an 11…”

    Especially if they use “Stonehenge”-sized social distancing…

  25. says

    @#29, cartomancer

    Does each level equate to a 10% chance of catching the virus on average? Probably not since opening the post in the morning would be certain to give it to you after ten days.

    That’s not how statistics work. If opening the mail had a 10% chance of giving you coronavirus, then after ten days your chance of getting it would be around 65%. (That is, the chance that you never got it would be 1 minus ((the chance of not getting the virus on a single day) ^ (number of days)).)

    Of course, that still shows that it can’t be 10%, just for different reasons.

    In fact, if the chances really were so static as all that, or if we’re satisfied by just knowing the average chance overall, we can estimate an upper limit to the probability by making some generous assumptions. Suppose that only 1 US citizen in 4 opens mail (which means 82 million mail-openers — the number of households is over 128 million and there must be at least one per household, so this is deliberately low), that they only do it 3 times a week (that’s pretty certainly too low — it’s presumably 4 or 5) and that only the events since April 1 count (a late start, leading to 55 mail-opening events per mail-opening person), and that the number of cases in the US during that time which either are attributable to mail opening or which would have been attributable to mail-opening if the person in question had not already contracted it from another cause is 100000 (deliberately ludicrously high). (All of those “too low” and “too high” choices have been chosen to lead to an overestimate, incidentally — we’re looking for an upper bound.) If the rate of infection from mail opening is R, the average number of mail-openings per person is M, and there is a total mail-opening population of P of which S get sick, and the chances are static (or we’re calculating the average chance and ignoring the changes), then the equation is S = P(1 – ((1 – R)^M)). Plugging in the assumed numbers, we get the equation 100000 = 82000000(1 – ((1 – R)^55)). If you solve for R you get that the chance of getting coronavirus from opening the mail is, on average, something like 0.002219%, or roughly 1 chance in 45073 per mail-opening. Since we deliberately overestimated on every single front, it actually must be significantly lower than that. (Then again, since everybody has gradually become more and more likely to be spreading coronavirus over time, your chances of being exposed through the mail, though still necessarily ludicrously small, must be rising over time as well.)