C.D.C. Finds Covid Outbreaks in Gyms


Federal health officials found that coronavirus cases at fitness centers in Chicago and Honolulu were caused by misuse of masks and carelessness about symptoms.

Gym members and guests are supposed to wear masks when they work out and keep six feet apart according to public health officials.

Exercise classes are showing an increase in the spread of covid and it may due to increased perspiration, increased breathing, and shouting out of exercise routines by facility instructors.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising fitness centers to take action to prevent outbreaks, ranging from enforcing proper mask use and reminding gym and staff members to stay home if they have symptoms of illness or have tested positive for the virus.

During exercise heavy breathing is inevitable, and when coupled with confined spaces the chances of transmission are multiplied. An alternative is to offer virtual classes which will help reduce infection risk.

“It’s very important for individuals who would like to attend a gym and work out to be cognizant of what the Covid symptoms are, and to be aware that if you are feeling something that looks and feels like a Covid-19 symptom, to stay home as a precaution,” said Richard A. Teran, a C.D.C. epidemiologist in Chicago who was one of the authors of the Chicago case study published on Wednesday.

At a gym in Chicago, Dr. Teran and his colleagues identified 55 coronavirus infections among 81 people who attended high-intensity, in-person fitness classes between Aug. 24 and Sept 1. Among them were 22 people who had gone to the classes on the day they developed their first symptoms of illness or the day after.

Three went to an exercise class on the day they received a positive test result indicating they had been infected, or the day after. In all, 43 gym members who tested positive participated in classes when they were possibly infectious, researchers said.