Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

‘There’s No Place Like Home for The Holidays:’ Travel and COVID-19 Test Positivity Following Thanksgiving Weekend

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Click the chart to enlarge. Sunil Solomon writes on Facebook:

Hope everyone is enjoying the holidays! Two things that have troubled me about the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic are: (1) a lot of guidance is based on personal opinions or perspectives (i.e. not data driven); and (2) messaging has not been targeted at the general public and we often leave the lay man/woman to interpret scientific papers themselves, which can be very dangerous. And another major issue with a rapidly evolving pandemic is data becomes old very soon! This post is an attempt to address these.

DISCLOSURE: these data are from a survey we just completed less than 10 days ago and so it is not peer-reviewed. But it is data and not my personal insights into the meaning of life and Covid which have become all too common these days! These data (like most data) are not perfect. I would have traditionally waited for a peer-reviewed publication but by the time that is done, these data would be old and thousands more would have been infected over the holidays. If these data could prevent even one infection, I feel, this is way worth it!

We have also tried putting together a panel of Figures to try and communicate the message in a non-scientific way that could be correctly interpreted by anyone. It is our first take and so would appreciate any and all feedback on how to improve our scientific communication….also, if you like this, let us know what else with Covid is confusing and we will try and address that next 😉

WHAT DID THE DATA TELL US?

1.Public health officials in the US strongly advised against traveling and having gatherings with non-household members over Thanksgiving. Yet, about half the respondents surveyed across 10 US states had meals either outside their home or with non-household members.

2.People who had Thanksgiving with non-household members or at someone else’s house were more likely to have COVID-related symptoms, more likely to get a Covid test, and more likely to test positive.

3.People who went to someone else’s house for Thanksgiving were also more likely to engage in non-essential activities such as going to bars, restaurants, gyms, hair salons, etc. In fact, they reported over 30 non-essential activities in 14 days!!!!!

4.The more non-essential activities people took part in, the higher the likelihood of testing positive.

TAKE HOME MESSAGES:

1.There’s no place like home for the holidays. Stay home! Stay Safe!

2.If you are (like the most of us) experiencing pandemic fatigue, missing family (which can include dogs or any other animal) and tired of staying at home, GO OUT! But limit the number of activities. If you are missing your mother or your grandmother and want to see her, go see her….but do not stop at a bar to get a drink after you went to the gym and hair salon earlier in the day on your way to see her. You are placing yourself and her at risk! Fewer activities = lower risk for you (and your loved ones)! Remember “nothing is safe” and there is always a risk; but, going to multiple places multiple times multiplies this risk. You can reduce this even further by wearing a mask and keeping a distance from her and meeting her outdoors…all of or an many of the above as possible! Use your own judgment!!

I want to conclude with an analogy from HIV: harm reduction. For sexually active participants, we always message to reduce partners. We also always recommend using condoms especially with unknown partners. Replace partners with non-essential activities and condoms with masks/hand hygiene and I have the same advice for you for COVID. Think of venues you visit as sexual partners and since you have no control over who goes to these venues, think of them as unknown sexual partners. So, limit the number of venues and always wear a mask correctly (just like wearing a condom on your fingertips during sex doesn’t prevent HIV, masks on your neck don’t help with covid either) to minimize your (and your loved ones) risk of Covid.
If you like this post and think it makes sense, please share. Every infection averted gets us one step closer to getting back to normal (and going to the gym)!

You can follow us and give us feedback on instagram @pandemicpulse and twitter @pulsepandemic
For those of you who want the more detailed scientific version:

https://www.medrxiv.org/con…/10.1101/2020.12.22.20248719v1

For more information, see their website.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 December 2020 at 11:45 am

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