Perceptions of risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in social and educational activities by infectious diseases and general pediatric healthcare providers, a pre-vaccine risk perception cross-sectional survey

PLoS One. 2022 Feb 11;17(2):e0263767. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0263767. eCollection 2022.


Background: The perception of the transmission risks of SARS-CoV-2 in social and educational settings by US healthcare providers have not been previously quantified.

Methods: Respondents completed an online survey between September and October 2020 to estimate the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission on a scale of 0-10 for different social and educational activities prior to the availability of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. Demographic information and experiences during the pandemic were also collected. The risk assessment was emailed to three listservs of healthcare providers, including national listservs of pediatric (PID) and adult infectious diseases (AID) providers, and a listserv of general pediatric practitioners in the St Louis, USA metropolitan area.

Results: Respondents identified the highest risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in spending time in a bar, eating at a restaurant, and attending an indoor sporting event. In the school setting, lower risk was identified in elementary and daycare students compared to high school or university-level students. Comparatively, the risk of transmission to students and teachers was lower than the identified high-risk social activities. Factors increasing risk perception in social activities included the absence of children in the respondent's household and female gender. For the school setting, AID providers perceived greater risk compared to PID providers or pediatric practitioners.

Conclusions: Respondents identified high risk activities that were associated with a high density of participants in an indoor space where masks are removed for eating and drinking. Differences were apparent in the school setting where pediatric providers perceived lower risks when compared to adult providers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • COVID-19 / immunology*
  • COVID-19 / virology*
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / immunology*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Personnel*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pandemics / prevention & control
  • Risk Management*
  • SARS-CoV-2 / physiology*
  • Young Adult


  • COVID-19 Vaccines