California closes Orange County beaches over COVID-19 fears – but how risky is a beach day?

Andrew Noymer, public health professor at the University of California, Irvine advises people who are medically vulnerable or elderly not to go. Sitting on the sand, however, does not carry risks of catching the virus, he said, if groups station their towels and umbrellas more than 6ft apart. The risks are much greater if people end up waiting in lines to buy food or use the bathroom ….  Michael Buchmeier, UC Irvine professor of medicine and infectious disease expert said the main concern is that asymptomatic carriers could be at the beach spreading the virus …. The risk of a beach visit, Buchmeier said, is somewhat comparable to a trip to the grocery store.