Most COVID-19 Patients Did This One Thing Before Getting Sick, Study Finds

It's not just social gatherings spreading coronavirus—there's an even more common pre-diagnosis activity.

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Any number of activities could put you at risk for catching coronavirus, whether it's a birthday party with friends or just heading to the grocery store. However, there's one common—and frequently unavoidable—activity that has led to a shocking number of new coronavirus cases: going to work.

In a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in their Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) this week, among the subjects who tested positive for COVID-19 and were employed, 81 percent said they worked outside their home within the last two weeks. In fact, 59 percent went to work every day. Few—17 percent—had the ability to telework.

The research showed that 34 percent of individuals with coronavirus who knew their source of exposure believed they'd caught the virus from a work colleague.

young black businessman wearing mask in meeting amid coronavirus pandemic
Shutterstock/yurakrasil

In another CDC study published in MMWR this week, 47 percent of study participants said their exposure to a COVID-19-positive individual occurred in the workplace. Among the participants who reported workplace exposure, most were healthcare personnel (60 percent), workers in public administration or the armed forces (13 percent), and those working in manufacturing settings (11 percent).

"Because workplaces are common locations of potential exposure to persons with COVID-19, it is important that company officials and managers refer to CDC's guidance for workplaces during the COVID-19 pandemic to minimize risk for exposure for their employees and customers," the CDC cautions in their second report.

They added in the first study that those safety measures should include "ensuring social distancing and more widespread use of cloth face coverings."

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According to a recent Washington Post-Ipsos survey, 58 percent of those surveyed admitted to being concerned about catching coronavirus at work and transmitting it to members of their family. And it seems those fears are more than justified. According to the CDC's research, there was only one source of coronavirus transmission more common than a person's colleagues: their family members. And if you want to protect yourself and others, This Is the Worst Thing You Can Do July 4th Weekend, Official Warns.

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