September 14, 2020
A study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that people who test positive for COVID-19 are twice as likely to have dined out in the 14 days before their diagnosis than those who test negative, Business Insider reports.
The study comes as most states allow people to dine indoors again. New York City recently announced plans to resume indoor dining on September 30.
The researchers collected data July 1-29 across 10 states from 314 adults with coronavirus symptoms. About half of them (154) tested positive for the virus.
Participants were asked about possible community exposure in the two weeks leading up to their test and how well they followed social-distancing measures.
The study did not, however, ask whether participants dined indoors or outdoors, and researchers said more studies were needed to establish whether the findings would be similar in a larger sample of people.
Respondents also were asked if they had worked at an office, gone shopping, gone to the gym, attended a church gathering, or used public transportation frequently in the two weeks before the diagnosis. Meanwhile, going to the beach or doing outdoor activities has been deemed low-risk by experts.
Specifically, the researchers determined:
- 42% of those who tested positive said they had close contact with at least one person with COVID-19, most of whom (51%) were family members, two weeks before their test.
- A lower proportion—14%—of the participants who tested negative reported having close contact with a person with known COVID-19 during the same time frame.
- 71% of the people who tested positive, and 74% of those who tested negative, said they always wore a face covering while in public during the two weeks before their test. (The study did not ask participants what type of covering they wore, however.)
According to the Business Insider report, the CDC guidelines currently say that takeout, drive-thrus, or delivery services pose the lowest risk of contracting the coronavirus from a restaurant; while the highest risk would be offering indoor and outdoor dining where tables are neither reduced nor spaced at least six feet apart.
As of Friday morning, September 11, the United States remains the worst-hit country in the pandemic. The country has reported more than 6.3 million coronavirus cases and nearly 200,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University’s tracker.
Research contact: @businessinsider