New Study Correlates Gyms, Restaurants and Other Services to 80% of COVID Cases
If you want to reduce your chances of contracting COVID-19 and stay healthy, you will want to avoid gyms, restaurants, hotels and a few other places that are operating at full capacity, according to a new study published by the journal, Nature.
We have already seen various reports that some activities are safe.
Flying for example has been viewed as benign by several organizations, including aviation advocacy group the Flight Safety Foundation. It stated that as long as people continue following recommended CDC guidelines – social distancing, wearing a mask, and washing hands – people can safely travel onboard aircraft.
But other activities are now shown to be serious contributors to COVID-19 cases within the U.S. if people are not following safe practices. And now more than ever, observing healthy measures is critical for people as we head into the holiday season and people begin to let their guard down.
These activities include going to the gyms with high membership attendance and going out to eat in full-service restaurants, but also staying in hotels and attending religious services that are seating to capacity.
Part of the issues is the fact that these are all confined locations where people are spending more than 15 minutes together talking, sweating, eating and breathing the same air.
As a result, the study correlated that these activities could cause more than 80 percent of coronavirus cases based on modeled scenarios.
Xenophon’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Hamer, a board-certified specialist in infectious diseases at Boston University said, “Next to mask usage and hand sanitation, improving ventilation is the most important step that can be taken to combat infection by SARS-CoV-2. A key reason that this virus is so contagious is that it is aerosolized and can be transmitted by micro-droplets which are expelled when a person talks, sings, sneezes or coughs. These micro-droplets are very light and air movement clears them from a space quickly.”
To determine what’s safe and what’s not, for two months data company SafeGraph, aggregated and analyzed hourly cellphone data of mobile apps from 98 million people in 10 major U.S. cities such as New York and Los Angeles. The company also compared the data to COVID-19 cases within certain neighborhoods, and simulated various models for places that opened and places that remained closed.
It’s also no surprise that researchers found that placing limits on capacity at these types of locations helped reduce the spread of the virus between people.
Data suggested that a 30 percent occupancy limit would significantly help reduce the spread of the virus. Further limitations, such as a 20 percent cap, would also decrease risk among people.
As people begin to feel “COVID fatigue” during the holidays and want to return to their normal lives, it will be important for people to stay vigilant and recognize the risks highlighted by this new study.
If you plan to go out, follow these key COVID-19 Recommendations:
- Visit locations that are reducing capacity and keeping crowds to reduced sizes.
- Check with locations to see if they’re communicating about their occupancy levels, whether online, on social media, or at the door.
- Wear a mask.
- Practice social distancing.
- Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.
- Stay safe.