Study: People are more likely to contract COVID-19 at home


Members of National University of Science and Technology (NUST) work on specimens in a COVID-19 laboratory testing centre on April 25, 2020, at Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. – The number of cases of coronavirus in Africa is currently low compared to the rest of the planet: nearly 28,000 on the continent against more than 2.7 million worldwide, according to an AFP count. (Photo by ZINYANGE AUNTONY / AFP)

South Korean epidemiologists have found that people were more likely to contract the new coronavirus from members of their own households than from contacts outside the home.

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a study on July 16. The study was a look in detail at 5,706 “index patients” who had tested positive for the coronavirus and more than 59,000 people who came into contact with them.

The findings showed only 2 out of 100 infected people who had caught the virus from non-household contacts, while 1 in 10 had contracted the disease from their own families.

By age group, the infection rate within the household was higher when the first confirmed cases were teenagers or people in their 60s and 70s.

Jeong Eun-kyeong, Director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) and one of the authors of the study told a briefing and said:

This is probably because these age groups are more likely to be in close contact with family members as the group is in more need of protection or support.”

Children with COVID-19 were also more likely to be asymptomatic than adults, which made it harder to identify index cases within that group.

Dr. Choe Young-june, a Hallym University College of Medicine assistant professor who co-led the study said:

The difference in age group has no huge significance when it comes to contracting COVID-19. Children could be less likely to transmit the virus, but our data is not enough to confirm this hypothesis.”

Between January 20 and March 27, data for the study was collected. This was the period the new coronavirus was spreading exponentially and as daily infections in South Korea attained their peak.

As of Monday, KCDC has reported 45 new infections, bringing the country’s total cases to 13,816 with 296 deaths.

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