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Coronavirus contagion: how the virus spreads at family gatherings

2020-11-27T00:21:42.296Z

The contagion of coronavirus in family gatherings worries the health authorities. This you should know before the holidays.



Dr. Fauci calls for caution on Thanksgiving 0:56

(CNN Spanish) -

Several countries have seen new coronavirus infections and meetings between family and friends seem to be the key to this mass spread of the disease.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have advised citizens not to gather during holiday seasons such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.

In this episode, Dr. Huerta explains, with a specific case - a birthday - why these events could be super-spreaders of covid-19.

You can listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast platform, or read the transcript below.

Hello, I am Dr. Elmer Huerta and this is your daily dose of information on the new coronavirus.

Information that we hope will be useful to take care of your health and that of your family.

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The end of the year celebrations are fast approaching.

In the United States, for example, Thanksgiving is about to be celebrated, one of the most important holidays in the country.

But as in other latitudes, multiple social and family gatherings are already being planned and executed in anticipation of the great celebrations, which will be Christmas night and the New Year.

A recent event in the state of Texas that left 12 members of a family infected with the new coronavirus after meeting on November 1, illustrates the role of social and family encounters in the spread of covid-19, and that is the topic that we will study today.

How is the spread of coronavirus?

First of all, let's remember that SARS-CoV-2 is a virus that is spread from person to person through the respiratory tract, and is very efficiently transmitted through aerosols, microscopic droplets of secretions that are produced when talking, shouting or singing .

These aerosols are so small that it has been found that they can linger for a few hours in the air in a closed, unventilated room.

If you are fond of music, you know that an equalizer modifies the sound frequencies of a piece of music, allowing you to listen to a song at a volume to your liking.

For that, you raise or lower the different sound tones until you achieve the one you like the most.

We can compare this to the risk of contagion with the new coronavirus.

Equalizing - that is, raising and lowering the intensity of four situations - you can raise or lower the risk of contagion.

Let's see what are the four elements that determine the risk of contagion.

Elements of contagion risk

The probability of contagion is determined by the interaction of four situations:

  • The environment in which you find yourself (closed and without ventilation or outdoors),

  • The closeness with the people who are in that environment,

  • The time you spend with those people in that environment,

  • And whether or not the people in that environment wear a mask.

As with the musical equalizer, by raising and lowering the “intensity” of these four elements, you may have a greater or lesser risk of contagion.

The environment

It refers to the place where you are.

It is not the same, in terms of risk of contagion, to be outdoors or in a room that has the windows open or closed.

Nor is it the same that this closed environment is small, such as the living room or dining room of a house or a large supermarket or commercial store.

The closeness

It implies how close people are in that environment.

It is not the same to be in the living room or dining room of the house with four or five people spaced apart, than to have fifteen or twenty people crowded together in the same environment.

In both situations, opening the windows could help, but in the second case, it is unlikely to reduce the risk of contagion if someone has COVID-19.

Time 

It has to do with the time spent with an infected person, this impacts the risk according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which states that if an individual spends more than 15 minutes with someone who has covid- 19, the probability of being infected is much higher.

The protection

It refers to whether or not people wear a mask that completely covers their mouth and nose.

Once these elements are described, it is possible to think of different scenarios with different risk possibilities.

Let's look at the two extremes of risk of contagion, the lowest and the highest.

Traffic light of risk of contagion of coronavirus

In the first place, the almost zero risk of contagion, would have it a person completely isolated and who stays all the time inside his house, a situation, without a doubt, difficult to happen.

On the other hand, the highest risk of contagion occurs in a prolonged meeting in a small, closed and unventilated place, with many people very close to each other, less than one meter apart, and without wearing masks.

It's not hard to imagine that a family event meets those criteria, and that's what happened at the Aragonez family reunion in Arlington, Texas, when on November 1, eight family members came to celebrate a birthday in the home inhabited by four other people.

Days after the meeting, some family members began to feel bad and tested positive for covid-19.

In the end, the twelve people who met, plus three other contacts, became infected with the new coronavirus in what turned out to be a super-spreading event of the infection.

It was later revealed that all twelve members of the family were inside the home and, despite living in different homes, none wore masks.

It is an example of how a party in a small room or dining room, without ventilation, with many people and without masks, presents a very high risk of contagion.

The risk increases if the environment is noisy and people have to raise their voices or shout to communicate.

Do you have questions about the coronavirus?

Send me your questions on Twitter, we will try to answer them in our next episodes.

You can find me at @DrHuerta.

If you think this podcast is useful, help others find it by rating and reviewing it on your favorite podcast app.

We will be back tomorrow so be sure to subscribe to get the latest episode on your account.

And for the most up-to-date information, you can always head over to CNNEspanol.com.

Thanks for your attention.

If you have any questions you can send them to Dr. Elmer Huerta via Twitter.

You can also head over to CNNE.com/coronaviruspodcast for all episodes of our "Coronavirus: Reality vs. Reality" podcast.

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Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2020-11-27

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