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.

CORONAVIRUS IN THE US: STATE-BY-STATE BREAKDOWN

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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CDC: household COVID-19 transmission common, usually within 5 days

  • A new CDC study suggests it’s very easy to get the coronavirus from someone who’s living in your household.
  • The report showed that roughly half (53%) of people surveyed who were living with a COVID-19 positive person wound up sick within a week, according to their daily self-administered tests.
  • Illnesses were transmitted quickly, with 75% of infections being passed along in five days. 
  • The study authors said that people “who suspect that they might have COVID-19 should isolate, stay at home, and use a separate bedroom and bathroom if feasible.”
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A US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report released Friday suggests that getting the coronavirus from someone you live with can be quick and easy, no matter their age.

The study, which is ongoing in over 100 households in Nashville, Tennessee and Marshfield, Wisconsin since April, found that roughly half (53%) of study participants living with a sick person who tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, wound up sick themselves within a week. 75% of those secondary cases tested positive for the virus within five days or less, according to their daily, self-administered tests.

“Persons who suspect that they might have COVID-19 should isolate, stay at home, and use a separate bedroom and bathroom if feasible,” the study authors wrote in their report, stressing that isolation should start as soon as the person suspects that they might be sick, even before any testing is done.

Being in the same room with a sick person is dangerous

In the study, most sick patients said they had spent many hours (four or more) together in the same room with the people they live with on the day before they started feeling unwell. That pre-symptomatic period is exactly when health experts suspect that people with the virus are at their most infectious.

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“It’s because the disease can spread at that moment that the disease is so contagious,” the World Health Organization’s Executive Director of Health Emergencies, Mike Ryan, said earlier this year. “That’s why it’s spread around the world in such an uncontained way.”

Another factor working against people who share a home with sick patients: airflow. The coronavirus spreads well between people who are indoors, and gathered close together, in poorly-ventilated spaces, so it makes sense that people would be getting infected from those they live, breathe, sleep, and eat with every day.

“We know that the biggest risk is these closed, indoor environments,” University of Maryland virologist Don Milton previously told Insider.

(However, as the study authors noted, it is always possible that some of the participants might’ve gotten infected in some other way.)

In the study, 40% of sick patients were sleeping in the same room as another person in their household, before they

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Second Wave ‘Critical Stage’, Hospital Transmission Report



These are the UK coronavirus stories you need to know about today.

Second Wave ‘Critical Stage’

Imperial’s REACT continuing community COVID-19 swab testing study estimates 96,000 people a day in England are becoming infected. The latest swabs were collected on Sunday and the data are published in a preprint.

  • Infections are doubling every 9 days with infections increasing across all age groups and areas of the country.

  • An estimated 128 people per 10,000 now has the virus compared to 60 in 10,000 as of 5 October.

  • R is estimated to have risen to 1.6.

The authors conclude: “The co-occurrence of high prevalence and rapid growth means that the second wave of the epidemic in England has now reached a critical stage. Whether via regional or national measures, it is now time-critical to control the virus and turn R below 1 if further hospital admissions and deaths from COVID-19 are to be avoided.”

Experts have commented via the Science Media Centre.

Professor Igor Rudan, joint director of the Centre for Global Health and WHO Collaborating Centre, University of Edinburgh, said: “This study should be considered very accurate and reliable scientific evidence that shows that a very large second wave of COVID-19 pandemic is underway.  It will inevitably lead to a very large number of infections, severe episodes and deaths in the coming weeks and months.  Efforts will be required to reduce the national reproduction number below 1.0 again.  The measures that were in place over the past 2 months across most of Europe were clearly insufficient to prevent the new large growth of infected cases and fast spread of the virus.” 

Paul Hunter, professor in medicine, UEA, said: “Although we do not know for certain what the prevalence of infection was at the April peak, it is likely that infection rates now are very similar to and maybe even higher than at the peak in April.”

Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor of cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, said: “We can expect this situation to continue to deteriorate if authorities remain slow to react.”

Nowcast and Forecast

Also published today is the Cambridge MRC Biostatistics Unit’s weekly Nowcast and Forecast.

It estimates:

  • 55,600 daily infections in England with cases “particularly high” in the North West, and the North East and Yorkshire

  • The number of daily deaths is likely to be between 237 and 422 by 5 November

  • London, followed by the North West, continues to have the highest attack rate

Lead researcher, Professor Daniela De Angelis, commented: “The estimated trends in R values and growth rates show signs that the epidemic is growing at a slower pace in most regions. However, the rising number of infections and the R values remaining above 1 clearly indicate continued transmission, leading to the prediction of a steep rise in the number of COVID-19 deaths.

“Curtailing this transmission will require sustained social distancing interventions.”

PHE Data

Meanwhile Public Health England’s weekly national flu and COVID-19 surveillance reports showed case rates increased in every age

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Taiwan celebrates record 200 days with no confirmed local coronavirus transmission

The United States recorded more than 80,000 new novel coronavirus infections and more than 1,000 related deaths on Wednesday amid a nationwide surge in new cases. Taiwan, meanwhile, reached a milestone: 200 days without recording a single locally transmitted coronavirus infection.



Pedestrians with face masks in Taipei on Oct. 29. (Chiang Ying-Ying/AP)


© Chiang Ying-Ying/AP
Pedestrians with face masks in Taipei on Oct. 29. (Chiang Ying-Ying/AP)

The island of more than 23 million people has officially confirmed just 550 cases and seven covid-19 fatalities. Given Taiwan’s density and proximity to China — they are neighbors, and locked in a sovereignty dispute — Taiwan’s successful handling of the pandemic has been closely analyzed by health experts.

Would the U.S. protect Taiwan from China? Taiwan’s new envoy hopes for ‘clarity.’

Early in the year, as the virus spread in China, scientists anticipated that Taiwan could have the world’s second-worst outbreak given its location and the frequency of daily flights and travelers from China, according to a March article in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Instead, the opposite happened, as Taiwan harnessed lessons from past epidemics and took the virus seriously from the start. And while many countries that initially averted large outbreaks in the spring saw cases surge this summer or autumn, Taiwan in has continued to stave off the worst of the pandemic.

As soon as China first reported to the World Health Organization in late December that a mysterious pneumonia-like virus was circulating in Wuhan, Taiwan began screening passengers on flights from the city. Having already experienced the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic, which also originated in China, the island had the foresight and infrastructure to mobilize a fast response.

On China’s front line, emerging cold war haunts battle-worn Taiwanese islands

During this high-stakes period, when the virus was gaining

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Rule of 6 and 10pm curfew ‘had zero effect on transmission’

BLACKPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 16: A barman serves drinks at a Wetherspoon pub on the promenade on October 16, 2020 in Blackpool, England. The Lancashire region will go into Tier 3 of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions from 00.01 Saturday 17th October. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
A 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants was introduced in England last month. (Getty)

The rule of six and 10pm pubs curfew are likely to have had “zero effect” on coronavirus transmission in England, a study has claimed.

The study by the London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) examined the impact of both measures, which were introduced last month.

It interviewed thousands of individuals to assess if their contacts had been reduced by the rule of six, working from home and the 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants.

It found that 42% of the 3,222 individuals it surveyed about the rule of six had the same amount of contacts before and after the measure was introduced.

Just over three out of ten (31%) reduced their contacts, while 26% saw more people after the rule was introduced.

Researchers interviewed 1,868 people about the 10pm pubs curfew and found the data was “consistent with no change in other contacts”.

When asked about the 10pm closure, 50% said their number of contacts had remained the same, while 25% said they had decreased and 24% said they had increased.

In its conclusion, the authors of the study wrote: “We determine that the rule of six and encouraging people to work from home, has seen the average person reduce contacts but these reductions are likely small.

Watch: Revellers head out before rule of six comes into force

“There was little suggestion that 10pm closure has affected the number of contacts that participants make outside home, work and school.

“In contrast to national restrictions, there was a strong suggestion that local restrictions reduced the number of contacts individuals make outside of work and school, though again, this effect was small in comparison to the national lockdown.”

LONDON, Sept. 14, 2020 -- People sit on the lawn at Potters Fields Park in front of Tower Bridge in London, Britain, on Sept. 14, 2020. In order to curb the rise in coronavirus cases, tough new limits on social gatherings came into force in Britain on Monday, meaning that in most regions, it is now illegal for groups of more than six to meet up. The "rule of six" kicked off at midnight across England, Wales and Scotland in the latest push to curb the recent surge in coronavirus infections. (Photo by Tim Ireland/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Tim Ireland via Getty Images)
The rule of six was introduced in England in September. (Getty)

The study has yet to be peer reviewed.

The rule of six was introduced on 14 September, followed ten days later by the pubs curfew.

One government science adviser said the rule of six laws “did not go far enough”.

Earlier this month, it emerged the government’s own scientific advisers had warned that the 10pm curfew would have only a “marginal impact” on the spread of coronavirus.

There was criticism that prime minister Boris Johnson “never discussed” the curfew with his science advisers, one of whom described the plan as “fairly trivial” and said it would have a “very small impact on the epidemic”.

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Study: Open windows, glass screens can limit COVID-19 transmission in classrooms

Oct. 20 (UPI) — Open windows and glass droplet screens placed in front of desks significantly reduce airborne transmission of COVID-19 in school classrooms, an analysis published Tuesday by the journal Physics of Fluid found.

Simply by opening windows, the number of virus particles circulating in the air in classrooms can be reduced by 40%, according to the researchers.

In addition, the glass screens decreased the number of microscopic virus particles students spread among one another by exhaling, talking, coughing or sneezing, which is how COVID-19 is passed from person to person.

“Nearly 70% of exhaled … particles exit the [room] when windows are open,” study co-author Khaled Talaat said in a statement.

“And air conditioning removes up to 50% of particles released during exhalation and talking but the rest get deposited onto surfaces within the room and may re-enter the air,” said Talaat, a doctoral candidate at the University of New Mexico, where the research was conducted.

As COVID-19 continues to spread, studying aerosol and droplet transport within different environments can help establish effective measures to contain its spread, particularly in settings such as classrooms, as schools across the United States reopen, according to Talaat and his colleagues.

For this study, the researchers used created a computerized model of an air-conditioned classroom to assess how small particles traveled through the air, and from person to person.

Microscopic particles, similar in size to those found in respiratory fluids with COVID-19, were transmitted in significant quantities — up to 1% of exhaled particles — between students, even at a distance of 7.8 feet, because of air flow, the researchers said.

However, using their model classroom, they found that opening windows increases the particles released from the room by nearly 40%, while also reducing aerosol transmission between people within it.

“The aerosol distribution within the room isn’t uniform, because of air conditioning and … student position within the room affects the likelihood of transmitting particles to others and of receiving particles,” Talaat said.

“In our model, the back corners [of the classroom] are the safest spots,” he said.

In addition, glass droplet screens placed in front of desks significantly reduced the transmission of 1-micron air particles from one student to another, Talaat said.

“Screens don’t stop 1-micron particles directly, but they affect the local air flow field near the source, which changes the particle trajectories [and] their effectiveness depends on the position of the source with respect to the air conditioning diffusers,” he said.

Diffusers are the vents that circulate air around a room.

For school reopenings, based on their findings, the researchers recommend keeping windows open when possible and installing glass screens in front of desks.

Students at higher risk of COVID-19 complications should be seated where they are exposed to fewer particles, which will depend on the air conditioning layout within the room, they said.

The group also stresses the importance of sanitizing hands — even without contact with other people’s belongings — because “particles can be transmitted from one

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