A new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that people diagnosed with COVID-19 are about “twice as likely” to have dined out at restaurants in the 14 days before symptoms appeared.
The report, released Thursday, suggests that in-person dining at restaurants – “where masking and social distances are difficult to maintain” – offers a greater risk of exposure than places like gyms or shopping malls.
“Masks cannot be worn effectively while eating and drinking, while shopping and numerous other indoor activities do not preclude the use of the mask,” says the report, which suggests that on-site dining could be “important factors. risk associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. “
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The group was asked to answer questions about their recent community activities, including lunch at an on-site restaurant, and those who tested positive were nearly twice as likely to confirm that they had eaten out in the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms. .
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The study, conducted by the CDC together with researchers from 11 medical centers across the country, also featured participants who reported being in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, such as a family member.
Taking these data into account, the CDC study found no other “significant differences” in the group’s other community activities, such as: shopping; attend meetings of 10 or more people within a home; attend meetings of 10 people or fewer within a home; Go to the gym; visit a salon; enter the office; take public transport; or visit a place of worship.
“In addition to dining in a restaurant, patients were more likely to report going to a coffee shop / café, but only when the analysis was limited to participants without close contact with people with known COVID-19 prior to the onset of the disease.” , report added.
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The research, however, did not take into account a number of factors, including whether or not attendees dined indoors or outdoors, or how those who reported visiting bars and cafes got their drinks. The authors also admitted that their sample group may not be representative of the entire country and that participants who already knew their diagnosis may have answered some questions differently than if they hadn’t.
The CDC says its findings are important for evaluating the reopening not only of the restaurant industry, but also of other community activities that present a possible risk of exposure, such as schools or office buildings.
“Implementing safe practices to reduce exposure to SARS-CoV-2 while eating and drinking on site should be considered to protect customers, employees and communities and slow the spread of COVID-19,” he concludes. the report.
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News of the CDC report comes as restaurants across the country work to reopen their dining rooms amid new warrants for social distancing and wearing masks.