California Governor Gavin Newsom is reportedly expected to order all beaches and state parks closed after tens of thousands of people were seen at Southern California beaches over the weekend.
On Monday, Newsom said beach-goers at Newport Beach were “an example of what not to do,” despite lifeguards stating that most individuals remained six feet apart from one another and did not leave their quarantine groups. News of Newsom’s order was predictably criticized by some, but the governor has maintained throughout the pandemic that facts and science — not political pressures and protests — will guide his decision-making.
So what do the facts and science say about the risk of outdoor transmission at beaches and parks? Two separate studies from Asia suggest the risk of contracting the coronavirus in an outdoors setting is low. Researchers from three universities — the University of Hong Kong, Southeast University and Tsinghua University — identified 318 COVID-19 outbreaks in China involving 1,245 confirmed cases between Jan. 4 and Feb. 11, and found just one instance of outdoor transmission among the 318 outbreaks.