Posted: Sep 14, 2020
As the nation continues to face the novel coronavirus pandemic with little significant guidance from the Trump administration, many people are struggling to determine the best possible protections for themselves. While wearing a mask, washing your hands, and staying home are among the common precautions, state and local ordinances can send mixed messages on what’s actually safe.
One example? Restaurants, bars, and cafes reopening. And according to a new study from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults who tested positive for the virus were approximately twice as likely to have dined at a restaurant within two weeks before they became ill with virus symptoms. Before we delve into what this finding suggests, let’s go over the basics of the study below.
First of all, the sample size of the study is fairly small. The study includes 314 adults in the United States who were tested for the virus after displaying symptoms. Of that number 154 of the people tested positive (those who tested negative functioned as a control group). The testing happened at one of 11 outpatient healthcare facilities across 10 states including California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah, and Washington state. The tests occurred in July.
One important note is respondents were not asked to distinguish between dining at restaurants with indoor or outdoor seating. It’s also a bit blurry because it’s possible people who are eating at restaurants or going for drinks during a pandemic may be out and about more in the community in general.
Additionally, 42% of people who tested positive had been in close contact with someone who had COVID-19, compared to less than 15% of the control group. Interestingly, out of the close contacts, just over half (51%) were family members. And 74% of the control group said they always wore face coverings in public, while a close but still lower 71% of those who tested positive said the same.
By Marissa Higgins
September 13, 2020
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