The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report last week that suggests if you’re living in a house with someone who has the coronavirus there’s a 50% chance you will also get infection, regardless of age or health status.
The study is currently still ongoing in over 100 households in Nashville, Tennessee and Marshfield, Wisconsin and has been occurring since April. The results showed that roughly 53% of participants who were living with an individual who tested positive for Covid-19 also tested positive within a week.
75% of the positive participants who contracted the virus from an individual they live with tested positive for the virus within five days or less of their living partners positive results. To help get these percentages down, the CDC also released guidelines with the study results on what to do if someone you’re living with tests positive for Covid-19.
“Persons who suspect that they might have COVID-19 should isolate, stay at home, and use a separate bedroom and bathroom if feasible. Ideally isolation should start as soon as the person suspects that they might be sick, even before any testing is done.”
Most of the sick patients in the study claimed to have spent four or more hours in the same room as the people they live with a day before they began feeling symptoms. That initial unwell feeling is known as the “pre-symptomatic period” and is when health experts suspect an individual is most infectious if they have Covid-19.
“It’s because the disease can spread at that moment that the disease is so contagious. That’s why it’s spread around the world in such an uncontained way,” said Mike Ryan, the World Health Organization’s Executive Director of Health Emergencies. The airflow within a home is the biggest factor when it comes to infecting the other individuals living in that home.
The coronavirus is able to spread the most easily in indoor spaces when people are close together in poorly-ventilated areas. So it makes perfect sense that a house would be the perfect breeding ground for the virus depending on how many individuals are living in that space.
The study’s results also showed that 40% of sick patients were sleeping in the same room as another person they live with before they knew they were positive. Participants in the study were aged anywhere from 12 to 60-years-old.
The study’s authors went on to suggest that both the sick individual and all others within a household should start wearing masks as soon as they think they might be sick. This is especially true if you know you shared closed spaces with people when appropriate distancing was not possible. Even though the weather’s getting cooler, it’s also a good idea to crack some windows open and turn on some fans to keep the air circulating.
Every individual in a household with a Covid-19 positive patient should run under the assumption that they also have the virus. Meaning they should also isolate themselves as much as possible for two weeks. Continue to maintain proper health and safety guidelines and be diligent, as this pandemic is nowhere near done yet.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.