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Where is the greatest risk of contracting COVID-19?

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Manish Saini
Manish works as a Journalist and writer at Revyuh.com. He has studied Political Science and graduated from Delhi University. He is a Political engineer, fascinated by politics, and traditional businesses. He is also attached to many NGO's in the country and helping poor children to get the basic education. Email: Manish (at) revyuh (dot) com

Studies conducted with different methodologies show similar results about the places where infection occurs.

The coronavirus pandemic has been attacking the world for over a year now, and its pace is not going to subside. Vaccination campaigns for COVID-19 are stalled, and people are already tired of quarantine restrictions and masks. It is really important to know where is the greatest risk of contracting a coronavirus infection.

Home, office, restaurant?

The research based on app tracking or surveys of people who contracted COVID-19 at a given time indicates that family, work, and friends are the main sources of infection.

In terms of locations, this is essentially a home, office, or occupational space, community spaces such as restaurants and gyms, and medical facilities, according to ComCor research conducted by the Pasteur Institute and SourceCovid led by Professor Fabrice Denis.

Their work also shows that children in the home pose an additional risk factor for coronavirus infection. Denis notes that the contribution of schools to the spread of COVID-19 is largely underestimated.

Last academic year, in September, scientists recorded a peak of young infected people, and after 50 days, the number of diseases among the older generation began to grow: young people became infected at the beginning of the school year, then they gradually transmitted the virus to the elderly. 

The above data are not universal due to cultural differences between countries. For example, in France, a long lunch with colleagues is an important part of the daily routine, while in Anglo-Saxon countries people usually have a quick snack, the authors say.

However, the study, which was published in the journal Nature in November 2020, was conducted using an analysis of population flows between various major metropolitan areas and came to similar conclusions regarding coronavirus infection sites.

It is enough for an infected and highly contagious person, the so-called super-spreaders, to be present in a crowded place without a mask to create a cluster of cases. For example, in Chicago, for example, ten percent of locations were responsible for 85 percent of infections during the observed period.

Places of risk of contracting coronavirus are primarily restaurants, bars, gyms, hotels and temples. That is, in closed rooms, where a lot of micro-droplets of saliva are thrown out.

Charlotte Jacquemont, an interventional neuropsychology researcher at the National Research Center and an active member of the Adios Corona collective, notes that school or corporate canteens, like hospital cafeterias, are sites of infection, simply because people take off their masks to eat.

Note that at the end of last year, the Japanese authorities, in anticipation of the third wave, recommended their citizens to eat while covering their masks.

“A properly worn and well-fitted surgical mask guarantees significant personal protection. But if the mask does not fit properly to the face, then we lose more than 60 percent of its filtering capacity,” emphasizes the researcher.

Jacquemont says public transport is a priority contamination point, as are shops, schools and other educational institutions.

The expert also notes open-space offices, when people sit all day long a meter apart without a mask.

The expert recommends that you always wear a mask in public toilets, which are often poorly ventilated, so the air in them is filled with contaminated particles from the stool of the previous visitor, which are sprayed as a result of flushing the toilet bowl.

The researcher notes that during street walks, even with high traffic densities, the risk of infection is minimal, especially if you wear a mask.

The specialist also criticizes the curfew, which only shortens the times when people can go shopping, increasing store and transport occupancy, and weekend quarantines.

“Why do we allow people to go to work, crowd on vehicles during the week, and forbid them to go to gardens on weekends? Likewise, closing museums and cinemas seems absurd, to put it mildly, since these are places where people wear masks and where distancing is and ventilation is much better than in shops or transport,” the scientist notes.

To reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission, Jacquemont recommends that governments insist on the importance of proper mask-wearing and indoor ventilation. In the classroom, ventilate every 20 minutes, and keep the windows in the transport open all the time.

We will remind, in the fall of last year, a large-scale study of American scientists was published, which showed that children and young people, who make up only a small percentage of those infected, played an important role in the spread of coronavirus around the world.

At the same time, the study also showed that most often people become infected with coronavirus from a distributor of their age. This risk was found to be the greatest among children and young people.

It is also known that the viral load in children and adolescents is extremely high and they can be asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus for a long time.

Another large study by South Korean scientists showed that teens over ten years old spread the coronavirus more often than adults.

At the same time, the World Health Organization considers it necessary to close educational institutions only as a last resort.

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