Study shows: very few people infect a large number

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A team of U.S. researchers analyzed data from Indian health authorities on 85,000 COVID 19 cases and nearly 600,000 of their contacts.

  • 70 percent of those originally infected (index persons) examined did not infect anyone.
  • Eight percent of those infected, however, were responsible for 60 percent of the new infections that were tracked, according to the study.
  • In families, only nine percent of those infected for the first time infected their close contacts.

“Contact testing is personnel-intensive and therefore limited in richer countries. In India, the situation is different,” writes the German medical journal. “Labor costs are low and the health authorities are often well staffed.

“The fact that such a strong transmission of infection by individual persons occurs naturally depends on the one hand very much on events that make this possible,” says virologist Stephan Aberle of MedUni Vienna. At the same time, the person affected must be in their highly infectious phase. But there are also other factors: “People who speak louder, for example, also form more droplets.

The fact that there have been no problems in theaters or concert halls to date is related to the prevention concepts, emphasises Aberle: “If you sit quietly in your seat by far and do not speak, I do not expect large transmissions of infection.

In another point, the Indian study comes to different results than before: every fourth child between one and four years of age became infected when he or she had contact with an infected infant.

“Children are very efficient carriers, which has not been shown to be the case in earlier studies”, study author Ramanan Laxminarayan from Princeton University in the USA is quoted on spiegel.de. Adults, on the other hand, were apparently infected by children much less frequently, with the figure ranging between five and eight percent. The study was published in the journal Science.

— Hector pascua, with reports from kurier.at. Picture: stockilyapp.com

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