How Does One Catch Covid-19? Scientists Finally Have Some Definite Answers

July 20, 2020
This article explains how does one catch Covid-19, modes of transmission and safety measures to be taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Health experts across the globe had been relentlessly working round the clock to find out how people catch COVID-19. Recently, according to an article published in the Wall Street Journal, the global health community may have reached a consensus.

How does one NOT (most likely) get infected?

Several studies conducted during the earlier phase of the pandemic regarded contaminated surfaces and objects to pose the threat of infection. However, at this point in time, scientists believe contracting the virus through such surfaces is unlikely.  Also, fleeting encounters with people outside may not lead to immediate transmission of the virus.

How does one GET infected?

Close-up, person to person interaction for longer periods of time with an infected person is a definite recipe for catching Covid-19.

Modes of Covid-19 Transmission

Respiratory-droplet contact: According to health agencies, respiratory-droplet contact is the major mode of transmission of Covid-19. A person becomes infected if the virus carrying droplets land on their eyes, nose or mouth.

Aerosols: Aerosols are miniscule droplets that remain in the air longer than larger droplets. People inhaling these droplets will contract the virus directly.

Prolonged Exposure: Prolonged exposure, as a rule of thumb, means 15-minutes or more of unprotected contact with a virus-carrying person, less than 6 feet away. However, the virus will take much less time to spread through a sneeze in the face or other intimate contact.

Therefore, wearing a mask while interacting with strangers or in a closed space is important.

Threat of Superspreaders

Superspreaders are events that infect one or more persons. For example, 87% of attendees became infected in a church choir practice in Washington.

The percentage of people infected in a specific place or time, called ‘the attack rate’, is high in crowded events and other spaces where a large number of people gather for a prolonged period.

Spouses in households have a higher attack rate than other members at home (27.8% vs. 17.3%), according to a study conducted in China. However, the risk of an infected person transmitting the disease is pretty low, overall. Only about 10% of Covid-19 affected people are responsible for 80% of transmissions, according to a recently published study in Wellcome Open Research.

Measures to stop the spread of Covid-19

Based on the recent findings, governments have recommended the following policies and precautionary measures to slow the spread of virus:

  1. Anyone who tests positive should go on home or institutional quarantine
  2. Everyone should wear masks at all possible times especially when out and about, and carry alcohol-based sanitizers or wash hands as frequently as possible
  3. Limit public transit, shared use of public facilities and elevators, and hugs, handshakes, fist-bumps and other forms of direct physical contact
  4. Practise social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from each other to reduce exposure
  5. Judicious cleaning and disinfection of homes, offices and workspaces

This article is a summarised version of a feature piece published in the Wall Street Journal. Read the original article here.

At Sendhelper, we cover all of these key risks by ensuring daily temperature submissions, compulsory wearing of masks on the job, and safe distancing rules for service providers at customer homes. We can keep our community safe and healthy by consciously taking extra care and additional steps.

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