More than three months in quarantine and many people still don't wear masks or practice social and physical distancing. The virus is still out there. The only reason the quarantine rules have been relaxed is to restart the economy.
Experts are still uncovering more about the virus and respiratory illness that has affected everyone, even those not sick. We need to stay vigilant to keep the virus out of our homes, out of our lives.
According to a new study, the novel coronavirus, a.k.a. SARS-COV-2 or the virus responsible for COVID-19 can quickly spread inside in households. It just takes one infected person who may not even know he's got it yet, reports the AFP.
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Researchers analyzed data on 30 COVID-19 patients in Guangzhou, China, and nearly 2,000 of their close contacts to estimate how an infected person transmits the disease to someone else. They found that the overall chances of an infected patient spreading COVID-19 to someone he lives with are twice as high as with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), and three times higher than the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
An average COVID-19 patient has a 17.1% chance of infecting someone they live with at home. Compared to the possibilities of that patient spreading the virus to a person outside his home, 2.4%, it's a huge jump. It's perhaps due less ventilation and communal spaces like the bathroom.
But that's not all. The study showed that a COVID-19 carrier, one who doesn't have symptoms yet is, 39% likely to spread the virus to anyone he lives with than an infected person who already shows symptoms of the disease. That isn't surprising since home isolation has been the protocol, but only once the patient develops symptoms.
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"Although the effect of case isolation seems moderate, the high infectivity of the virus during the incubation period suggests quarantine of asymptomatic contacts could have prevented more onward transmissions," said Qin-Long Jing from the Guangzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The study is not yet peer reviewed. It contradicts earlier advice that the virus isn't infectious during its incubation period. It also explains why infectious disease doctors always say, "Treat yourself and everybody else as contagious."
Even with laxed quarantine rules, stay home as much as you can. If you do go outside, disinfect and change clothes once you get home. Continue to wash your hands and clean frequently touched things at home, such as light switches, doorknobs. It's better to be safe than to be sorry, especially if it's your family's lives at stake.