New COVID-19 Study Blames Coronavirus Spread on Restaurant Dining

covid-19

Getty An undated handout photo from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a microscopic view of the coronavirus.

People who tested positive for COVID-19 were twice as likely to have reported dining on-site at a restaurant, bar or coffee shop than those who tested negative for coronavirus, a new study found.

The study, posted on the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on September 11, is called, “Community and Close Contact Exposures Associated with COVID-19 Among Symptomatic Adults ≥18 Years in 11 Outpatient Health Care Facilities — United States.”

The study found:

Findings from a case-control investigation of symptomatic outpatients from 11 U.S. health care facilities found that close contact with persons with known COVID-19 or going to locations that offer on-site eating and drinking options were associated with COVID-19 positivity. Adults with positive SARS-CoV-2 test results were approximately twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant than were those with negative SARS-CoV-2 test results.

The study’s findings come as states and municipalities continue to grapple with how to open restaurants in the midst of a pandemic, with some limiting capacity and requiring other safety steps.

The study looked at other activities and didn’t find the same risk, finding:

Approximately one half of all participants reported shopping and visiting others inside a home (in groups of ≤10 persons) on ≥1 day during the 14 days preceding symptom onset. No significant differences were observed in the bivariate analysis between case-patients and control-participants in shopping; gatherings with ≤10 persons in a home; going to an office setting; going to a salon; gatherings with >10 persons in a home; going to a gym; using public transportation; going to a bar/coffee shop; or attending church/religious gatherin

Here’s what you need to know:


The Study Urges Restaurants to Find Ways to Minimize Exposure Since People Remove Masks to Eat & Drink

kn95 masks

The fact that you, stating the obvious here, can’t eat or drink with a mask on increases the chances of exposure.

“Eating and drinking on-site at locations that offer such options might be important risk factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Efforts to reduce possible exposures where mask use and social distancing are difficult to maintain, such as when eating and drinking, should be considered to protect customers, employees, and communities,” the study found.

The study blamed community exposures for COVID-19 spread, writing, “Community and close contact exposures continue to drive the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. CDC and other public health authorities recommend community mitigation strategies to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2.”


Some of the COVID-19 Positive People Had Dined Outdoors

COVID-19 study

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It’s not only indoor dining that can be a risk.

“Case-patients were more likely to have reported dining at a restaurant (any area designated by the restaurant, including indoor, patio, and outdoor seating) in the 2 weeks preceding illness onset than were control-participants,” the study reported.

“Restricting the analysis to participants without known close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19, case-patients were more likely to report dining at a restaurant…or going to a bar/coffee shop… than were control-participants. Exposures and activities where mask use and social distancing are difficult to maintain, including going to places that offer on-site eating or drinking, might be important risk factors for acquiring COVID-19. As communities reopen, efforts to reduce possible exposures at locations that offer on-site eating and drinking options should be considered to protect customers, employees, and communities.”

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