Dining Out Linked to Increased COVID-19 Risk


Relaxation of face mask requirements in restaurants, coffee shops, and bars could make the venues prime areas for transmission of coronavirus, reported HealthDay (Sept. 10).

"As we learn more about transmission, it is not surprising that activities that can not maintain social distancing and are not amenable to mask wearing-such as eating and drinking in close proximity to others-would result in a higher transmission rate", said Dr. Teresa Murray Amato, who heads emergency medicine at Long Island Jewish Forest Hills, a hospital in New York City.

"In addition to dining at a restaurant, case-patients were more likely to report going to a bar/coffee shop, but only when the analysis was restricted to participants without close contact with persons with known COVID-19 before illness onset", the scientists added. The agency also published guidelines for bars and restaurants September 6. Michael Kaputo, a former Trump campaign official and now assistant secretary general for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, and his deputies have repeatedly called for publication access to the CDC's weekly morbidity and mortality weekly reports, and changed them to reduce the severity of COVID-19 in April. That is both groups had a lot of similarities when it came to shopping, home gatherings with less than 10 people, going to the office, gym visits, going to a salon, using public transportation, or attending religious gatherings. But those who dined at restaurants tested positive at a higher rate. This finding was part of a report released by the CDC on close contact exposure associated with adults that showed symptoms of the infectious disease.

Reports of exposure to the virus have been linked to air circulation, they said. All participants "reported symptoms at the time of initial SARS-CoV-2 testing", per the CDC.

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CDC further mentioned some limitations of the study. The participants did not have to specify whether they ate indoors or outdoors while dining, pointing that more research is required to establish whether the findings are going to similar to a larger group, as reported by the Business Insider.

"CDC to me appears to be writing hit pieces on the administration", Paul Alexander a senior adviser to Caputo wrote, calling on CDC director Robert Redfield to adjust two already published reports that Alexander claimed overstated the risks of coronavirus to children and undermined Trump's plan to reopen schools.

The report stated exposures and activities where social distancing and mask usage were hard to be followed - such as establishments where on-site drinking and eating are allowed - might increase the risk of contracting COVID-19.