I haven’t been to my gym since the end of February—it didn’t shut down until mid-March, but earlier in the month, I got an email about a potential covid-19 exposure at a class I usually took and I never went back. Today, I made the executive decision to run outside, even though it’s 90 degrees in New York City and the park I run in is crowded enough to necessitate wearing a mask. It was a wholly unpleasant experience, and I spent much of it thinking about going on an elliptical in an air-conditioned room. Still, after reading about a potential covid-19 outbreak at a gym in West Virginia, I’ll take the outdoor heat exhaustion.
CNN reports that more than 200 people were told to quarantine after someone who worked out at a Planet Fitness in Monongalia County tested positive for covid-19. The Monongalia County Health Department put out a statement:
“Anyone who was at Planet Fitness between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday, June 24 should stay at home for 14 days since being exposed, which would be until Wednesday, July 8,” a statement by the Monongalia County Health Department says, adding that “about 205" people were at the gym during that window of time.
“We are urging people to get testing if they become symptomatic,” said health department spokeswoman Mary Wade Burnside in an email to CNN.
Cases have risen slightly in West Virginia over the last few weeks, and Monongalia County, which has had very few cases, also saw a very small uptick recently. But gyms come with high possibilities of exposure, in part because so many people can pass through them at once; body fluids go everywhere; and that air-conditioning that I so desperately needed on my run today is essentially a virus leaf-blower. Some gyms have private workout pods and other social distancing measures in place to protect people exercising, but so far, none of this is a foolproof process.
So, all of this is to say—maybe skip the gym! Do a crunch or three on the floor instead! And don’t forget to Venmo your favorite instructor or trainer, since the government thinks opening businesses is more important than protecting the people who work at them.