CDC: Covid positive persons twice as likely to dine at restaurants

Posted on September 11, 2020 by

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According to a CDC case-controlled investigation, close contact with persons with 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.

In this investigation, participants with and without COVID-19 reported generally similar community exposures, with the exception of going to locations with on-site eating and drinking options. Adults with confirmed COVID-19 (case-patients) were approximately twice as likely as were control-participants to have reported dining at a restaurant in the 14 days before becoming ill. 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. Reports of exposures in restaurants have been linked to air circulation (7). Direction, ventilation, and intensity of airflow might affect virus transmission, even if social distancing measures and mask use are implemented according to current guidance. Masks cannot be effectively worn while eating and drinking, whereas shopping and numerous other indoor activities do not preclude mask use.

Let’s just review what the CDC is saying or not saying. The report says “dining at a restaurant”. We assume it means indoor dining and not outdoor dining. The study mentions ventilation and direction of airflow that could effect the virus, which leads one to believe that this study is for indoor dining.

The most important take-away is that masks can’t be “effectively” used when eating and drinking.  Unless you dine alone, talking is a key component in the dining experience. You take a bite of food or have a drink, and have a conversation. You may sneeze, cough or laugh during a typical meal. You don’t put your mask on in-between bites. Why would you?

That’s what makes the indoor dining option such a perilous option TODAY before a vaccine.

Editor’s note: US Food Safety provides food safety training for the restaurant industry. This report is particularly heartbreaking but not without merit.


© 2020 US Food Safety. No copyright claim is made for portions of this blog and linked items that are works of the United States Government, state governments or third parties.

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Posted in: Family safety