Dining at restaurants linked with higher Covid-19 transmission: CDC study

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New Delhi (NVI): As restaurants attempt to keep their kitchens open amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study has linked a possible higher risk of virus transmission to dining out than other community activities.

The study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examined data from adults at 11 health care facilities across the nation who tested positive for COVID-19 and compared that with a control group of adults without virus infection.

“We found that close contact with persons with known COVID-19 or going to locations that offer on-site eating and drinking options were associated with COVID-19 positivity,” researchers said in a statement.

“Adults with positive SARS-CoV-2 test results were approximately twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant than were those with negative test results,” they added.

During this investigation, participants with and without COVID-19 reported similar community exposures, with the exception of going to locations with on-site eating and drinking options.

In addition to this, the researchers asked questions from participants about wearing masks and various activities in the community, including whether they recently dined at a restaurant, hung out a bar or went to a gym.

According to the study, the data collected by researchers shows that 42 per cent of the adults who tested positive reported having close contact with at least one person known to have COVID-19, compared with 14 per cent of those who tested negative.

The researchers collected data from the participants about close contact, within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more, with a person with known COVID-19, workplace exposures, mask-wearing behavior, and community activities in the last 14 days before they started experiencing symptoms.

They also found that 71 per cent of the adults with COVID-19 and 74 per cent of those who tested negative reported always using a face covering while in public.

The study, however, showed that eating and drinking on-site at locations that offer such options might be important risk factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection.

“Efforts to reduce possible exposures where mask use and social distancing are difficult to maintain, such as when eating and drinking, should be considered to protect customers, employees and communities and slow the spread of COVID-19,” the researchers noted in the study.

Furthermore, the study also pointed out that many reported cases tied to restaurants have been linked to air circulation.

“Direction, ventilation, and intensity of airflow might affect virus transmission, even if social distancing measures and mask use are implemented according to current guidance,” they added.

-RJV