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Study shows COVID-19 is twice as infectious within households

Muhammad UsmanMultimedia Journalist

18th Jun, 2020. 09:33 pm
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A new study has found that Coronavirus can be spread quickly at home than other same diseases such as Flu or SARS.

China and the United States of America’s researchers said their findings can have a significant effect on reducing the number of new infections as the pandemic goes forward.

Using data from 350 COVID-19 patients and nearly 2,0000 of their close contacts in Guangzhou city, China, the researchers estimated the ‘secondary attack rate’ of the virus; that is due to an infected person who would transfer the disease to another.

The researchers found that the average patients had only a 2.4 percent chance of infecting someone with whom they did not live, that figured somehow, has jumped among the inhabitants to 17.1 percent; about one in six.

According to their models, based on data collected in January and February but updated to reflect the latest developments, the likelihood of household infection was highest among the over-60s and the lowest among the under-20s.

The overall chances of infecting a family member or living partner with COVID-19 are twice as high as with SARS and three times higher than with MERS, another coronavirus.

Significantly, the researchers found that the probability of a carrier of COVID-19 infecting a family member or home mate was significantly higher to 39% before they began to show symptoms than later.

This indicates that during its incubation time, the virus is readily transmissible and can be spread by the individuals who are unaware of being affected.

The researchers’ team said household isolation cut the number of COVID-19 cases in the cohort by 20-50% compared to no quarantine.

“Although the effect of case isolation seems moderate, the high infectivity of the virus during the incubation period suggests quarantine of asymptomatic contacts could have prevented more onward transmissions,” said Qin-Long Jing from the Guangzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The research suggests that it might have already been too late to prevent COVID-19 circulating quickly.

Writing in a linked comment, Virginia Pitzer from the Yale School of Public Health said that a “key difference” between COVID-19 and other coronaviruses was its “substantially higher” probability of transmission in its incubation period.

“Confirms the relative importance of pre-symptomatic transmission and the relationship between older age and susceptibility, key insights which should inform the design of intervention strategies,” said Pitzer in her research published in The Lancet.

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