This Is Where You’re 19 Times More Likely to Get Coronavirus
Two new studies reveal where COVID-19 is most likely to spread—and the answer will unnerve you.
No matter how often you're using Lysol wipes, wearing a mask, or washing your hands, chances are high you're still nervous that the coronavirus is lurking just around the corner in your life. Well, based on some new research, we now have further insight into where COVID-19 is most likely to spread and the answer will likely unnerve you. It turns out, the virus is much more likely to spread indoors than it is in an open environment. In fact, one study even found that among specific environments—like your home, mass transit, restaurants, shopping centers, and entertainment venues—a coronavirus outbreak is most likely to occur in your very own home.
A study out of China from researchers at Southeast University, the University of Hong Kong, and Tsinghua University, which has not yet been peer reviewed, looked at 318 outbreaks in China in which three or more cases were identified. They divided the outbreaks into six categories: homes, transport, food, entertainment, shopping, and other. They found that homes were "the dominant category," with 254 of the 318 outbreaks stemming from houses. Most home COVID-19 outbreaks involved three to five cases, the report noted.
The researchers identified only a single outbreak in an outdoor environment, suggesting COVID-19 is much more contagious indoors than outdoors. Levels of the contagion in outdoor public areas were "undetectable except in two areas prone to crowding, possibly due to infected carriers in the crowd," the scientists found.
A second study out of Japan, from the country's National Institute of Infectious Diseases, also aimed to get a better understanding of what environments promoted transmission of COVID-19. Their findings, also not yet peer reviewed, were very similar. After looking at 110 cases across 11 outbreaks, the scientists found that "the odds that a primary case transmitted COVID-19 in a closed environment was 18.7 times greater compared to an open-air environment"—meaning, yes, the coronavirus is coming from inside the house.
So, what's the takeaway here? If you are in a state that's opening up and find yourself indoors, try to avoid crowded and unventilated areas, where both studies found high levels of the virus. And if someone in your home has symptoms of COVID-19 or tests positive, be sure they isolate themselves, staying as far away from other family members or roommates as possible. And for states where COVID-19 is still on the rise, check out 19 States Where Coronavirus Cases Are Going Up.