There is no changing the fact that coronavirus has changed life as you know it. This pandemic has swept across the globe bringing economies crashing and governments scrambling to keep up. The medical community worldwide, from developed to under-developed countries, have buckled under the pressure and are still struggling six months into the pandemic. On an individual level, your life has been impacted in small to smaller ways and big to bigger ways as well. Work from home has become a culture, and screen time limits are a thing of distant past. Online schooling has taken over lives and so has staying at home day in and day out.
Staying indoors makes you feel both protected and secure. With the lockdown that was imposed, staying home has turned from a forcible thing to a voluntary thing as people realize the gravity of this virus. This is especially true for the children and elderly in the society as well as those that are at high risks like pregnant women and people with other medical conditions. They have been advised to stay indoors to stay safe even as the world has once again started clocking. But how safe is this safe haven? What are the chances of contracting this virus within the confines of your walls? It turns out the chances might be higher than you envisioned.
What Research Says
The research about exposure and contracting coronavirus has taken quite an alarming turn. All the authorities involved in providing general guidelines and issuing warnings, including WHO, CDC, etc., have been concentrating on how to protect yourself from coronavirus when you step outside of the home. This has given the perception that your biggest threat is outside the home. The whole “Stay home Stay safe” chant is based on this ideology. And this is true as well. The only thing is this statement has made everyone forget the threat your house might be posing for you in terms of coronavirus exposure. Recent findings point in this direction. Some research on this subject includes:
- The epidemiologists in South Korea have made a new, very alarming discovery. As per their studies, they have found that people are far more likely to contract coronavirus from their household members than they are from outside exposure. This implies that you are at more risk from your own family than you are from the people outside of your home.
- CDC published a study in July 2016 related to this subject. A group of 5706 patients who tested positive for coronavirus and the 59,000 people who came in contact with them were studied. It was revealed that out of the people who tested positive following contact with the primary carriers, less than 2% were the “outside” people, i.e., people not from their household, and about 12% were their household members. This big discrepancy in the percentages brings in the forefront the risk your household poses for you.
How Age Matters
The risk you pose to your near and dear ones is directly related to the age of your household members as well. Other factors, like any underlying medical condition, also play a major role in defining the exposure and risk issue within a household. For e.g., if only a young husband and wife are staying together, the risk is minimized since they are both in the low-risk category, so chances of one passing the infection to another are minimal. This changes when you get children into the picture. Then the risk increases since the child is at high risk of contracting the disease from the parents. Some facts about this are:
- It was found by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) that the chances of infection rate within the household is high when the first patient in the household is either less than 18 or over 60 years.
The logic behind this is simple. This age group requires more care and are hence more likely to be in close contact with the other members of the household as opposed to the between 18 to 60 age group who are more likely to be independently maintaining their own personal space within the household.
- Children below nine years have been found to be the least likely primary carriers of the infection. The fact that this age group is the least likely to come in any contact with outsiders makes this possible. Hence, any infection they might pick up has to be from the household itself.
- Another thing with children is that they were more found to be more asymptomatic than adults in general when infected with COVID 19. This makes them more difficult to identify.
- Children also exhibit lower signs of passing on the disease. However, this revelation needs further study.
Your household is a potential risk factor when it comes to coronavirus. Even if only one person in the household is going outside on business or to run errands, that fact remains that this one person becomes the risk for everyone else. So, you might have isolated yourself from the world, and all the potential risks it entails, but as long as even one person from your bubble is stepping outside, that risk comes down to you. Also, age plays a big role when the virulence of COVID 19 and resistance to the same is explored.