Coronavirus transmission at home ‘common,’ over 50% household contacts infected, CDC finds

Coronavirus spread within households is common, and “substantial transmission” occurs from both children and adults, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Health officials have been warning about virus transmission occurring inside homes. Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus task force coordinator, for instance, has warned that coronavirus-related closures of public places won’t stop virus spread in this phase of the pandemic, where at-home gatherings are contributing to cases, reported the Chicago Tribune. 

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 Also, Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, has said: “In fact where we see the spread of COVID-19 is where we let down our guard, where we literally let down our mask because we feel comfortable with those we love, but the virus is just looking for opportunities to spread.”

In its latest report, the CDC assessed 101 households in Nashville, Tenn., and Marshfield, Wis., from April to September. The households included 101 index patients (or the believed source of infection) and 191 household contacts. These people took self-samples for the virus everyday for two weeks.

Over half (53%) of all household contacts were infected and “secondary infections occurred rapidly, with approximately 75% of infections identified within 5 days of the index patient’s illness onset,” the health agency wrote.

Younger index patients aged 12 to 17 years infected about 38% of household contacts, according to the data.

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The CDC advises using separate bathrooms and bedrooms, if possible, to reduce virus spread at home, among other measures. (iStock)

The CDC advises using separate bathrooms and bedrooms, if possible, to reduce virus spread at home, among other measures. (iStock)

To lower the risk of virus spread at home, the CDC recommends isolating immediately upon coronavirus-like symptoms, testing positive, or testing due to high-risk exposure, whichever happens first. Also, everyone should wear masks in shared spaces at home.

Members of the same household should use separate bedrooms and bathrooms if possible, the CDC wrote. Finally, a significant number of infected people in the study were asymptomatic, which further emphasizes the importance of isolation, the agency wrote.

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UK considers reducing quarantine period for COVID-19 contacts

(Reuters) – Britain’s government is looking at how long those exposed to COVID-19 need to quarantine, Northern Ireland minister Brandon Lewis told Sky News on Sunday, commenting on reports that the self-isolation period could be reduced from 14 days.

Like many other European countries, the UK is facing a surge in infections. It has so far reported 884,457 coronavirus cases with 44,795 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.

The government has ordered those in England identified as being exposed to the virus to stay at home for 14 days, or face fines of up to 10,000 pounds ($13,043).

“Teams are looking at what we can do around those isolation periods, this will be scientifically led,” Lewis said when asked about reports the period could be reduced to 10 or seven days.

“We’re not ready to make a final decision or announcement on that yet, but we want to make sure we’re moving with the science, and indeed again, allowing people to live and work within this virus as best as we can.”

Lewis denied a report in the Sunday Times that some city workers and company bosses could be exempt from the quarantine period. He said any changes to the rules would apply to everybody.

($1 = 0.7667 pounds)

(Reporting by Maria Ponnezhath in Bengaluru and William James in London; Editing by Frances Kerry and Catherine Evans)

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Under 60% of English COVID contacts reached in new record low for trace scheme

LONDON (Reuters) – A record low 59.6% of contacts of positive COVID cases were reached in the latest week, statistics for England’s Test and Trace scheme showed on Thursday, with turnaround times for people receiving their results also getting slower.

British government scientists have warned that the test and trace scheme is relatively ineffective as the coronavirus spreads ever more quickly, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson is tackling a growing second wave with a localised approach.

Recent weeks have seen increases in the number of contacts of positive COVID-19 cases identified, with 251,613 identified in the latest week, up 15% on the previous week.

But the proportion being contacted is well below an 80% target for contacts traced.

Between Oct. 8 and Oct. 14, 33.4% of in-person test results were received the day after the test was taken, compared with 67.9% the week before.

The test and trace scheme showed that there had been a 12% increase in positive cases in the latest week. There were 96,521 people transferred to the system, of which 80.7% were reached and asked to provide information about their contacts.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout, editing by Elizabeth Piper and Stephen Addison)

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