There is no miracle solution to make sure you don’t get the coronavirus, but you can do a lot to minimize the risk. And according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) it’s not just about what you do, but also what you do do not do it do while COVID is still on the run. A recent study shared by the health authority revealed that one activity is associated with about 40% of positive cases: dining in a restaurant. The CDC is now urging people to stay away from such contexts and encouraging improved security measures for those who still choose to protect them.For the study, the researchers gathered a randomized group of COVID positive patients and collected extensive data on theirs. background. This included their demographics, underlying chronic medical conditions, symptoms, known exposure to any COVID positive patient, potential workplace exposures, and community activities within 14 days of first symptoms. Participants were then asked about their mask-wearing habits and any possible community exhibition activities, including social gatherings, shopping, dining at restaurants, and more. Patients identified each habit on a five-point Likert scale ranging from “never” to “more than once a day” or “always”.
Upon reviewing the data, two habits stood out as being more directly associated with COVID transmission: having close contact with someone who later tested positive (51% of these individuals were family members) and spending time in restaurants in the previous two weeks. As the study explains, “adults with positive SARS-CoV-2 test results were about twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant than those with negative SARS-CoV-2 test results.” This included restaurants with indoor, patio, and outdoor seating. Researchers suspect this increased risk of COVID is explained by the fact that eating in a restaurant and wearing a mask don’t exactly go hand in hand. People who otherwise practice vigilant safety precautions also let their guard down when the waiter brings their meal. That’s why the CDC supports policies that protect customers, employees and communities, even where wearing the mask is a challenge. Using outdoor seating, wearing a mask until food arrives, and sitting at tables at least six feet away from others could make all the difference.
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So, to avoid COVID, skip the restaurant for now. Opt to order takeaway or plan socially away picnics for the time being. It’s better to be safe than sorry, even if you miss your favorite hangout. And for more information on restaurant hazards, check out The Air In Restaurants May Be 3 Times Dirtier Than This Place.
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