What's The Risk Of A Potluck?

In our series "What's the Risk?" experts weigh in on what risks different scenarios pose for transmitting COVID-19.

What's The Risk Of A Potluck?

When it comes to getting sick with COVID-19, you might be thinking about this, and we have too. Joey Quigley asked, "What’s the risk if I go to a potluck?"

We asked the experts: Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious diseases physician at the Mayo Clinic; Katie Cary, Vice President of Infection Prevention for HCA Continental Division, and Dr. Irfan N. Hafiz, infectious disease physician and Northwest Region chief medical officer at Northwestern Medicine.

Their take: The risk of contracting COVID-19 from attending or hosting a potluck is high.

"The more you increase the number of people, the harder it is to be sure that everyone is OK. And second, it's also as if there is somebody who is potentially transmitting. There's more people that they're likely exposing," Dr. Harfiz said."If we're doing it in a small group of say 10 or less people, I think the risks are starting to get low. But as you start increasing that number, the risks start to get higher and higher and the needs to social distance become greater and greater, which gets by itself harder and harder to do as you start getting up to 15 or 20 people. That gets really difficult to manage there."

"Risk with a public setting is having people touching the same surfaces or whether it's a serving spoon or a dish or container, having multiple people touch that without cleaning their hands in between would be the biggest risk in that situation," Rajapakse said.

"Very important to know who you're going to invite, where they've been and if they're well, and then do the best you can, obviously, to maintain social distancing while sitting around and eating. The biggest risk, probably, in my opinion, would be when everybody is scooping up their food and going through the lines because not everybody is going to stop and wash their hands in between," Cary said.

If you have a question about your risk, send us a video to whatstherisk@newsy.com. You can see answers to other questions here