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Frequent use of public transport raises chances of Covid-19 infection by 4 times: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on September 11, 2020 Published on September 11, 2020

Wearing mask, strict social distancing, limiting travel help reduce the spread of coronavirus, the research says

Visiting public spaces, including places of worship, and use of public transport, among others, significantly increase the chances of contracting Covid-19, says a new study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Researchers stressed on the protocol of social distancing, stating that adherence to this norm lowers the chances of being infected by the novel coronavirus.

Senior author of the study Sunil Solomon from Johns Hopkins University, US, said in a statement: “Our findings support the idea that if you’re going out, you should practice social distancing to the extent possible because it does seem strongly associated with a lower chance of getting infected.”

Researchers examined samples collected from over 1,000 people in the state of Maryland and studied their social distancing practices, use of public transportation, SARS-CoV-2 infection history, and other Covid-19-relevant behaviours.

The researchers further said that people who use public transport frequently were four times more likely to contract the virus. In an encouraging bit of information, those who reported practicing strict social distancing were reported to be just a tenth as likely to get the virus.

The results indicated that 55 (5.3 per cent) of the 1,030 participants had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection at any time, while 18 (1.7 per cent) reported testing positive in the two weeks before they were surveyed.

The researchers noted in their study that spending more time in public transport strongly increases the coronavirus transmission.

The researchers said that infection history was 16 times more common among those who visited a place of worship three or more times in a fortnight, compared to those who visited no place of worship during the period.

Also, those who reported practicing social distancing outdoors “always” were only 10 per cent as likely to have a history of SARS-CoV-2, compared to those who reported “never” practicing social distancing.

The authors said in the study that the results were consistent with the general public health message that wearing mask, social distancing, and limiting travel whenever possible reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

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Published on September 11, 2020
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