In November, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that approximately 53% of people living with an infected coronavirus also fell ill within an average of five days. A group of American scientists decided to find out from which family member comes the greatest danger. The review, published in the JAMA Open, analyzed 54 studies from 20 countries, which included data from a total of 77,700 patients with COVID-19.
The results showed that approximately 37.8% of married patients with COVID-19 transmitted the infection to their spouses. The likelihood of infection for other family members living in the same house – grandmothers, grandfathers, sisters, brothers – was significantly lower. Most likely, this is due to the fact that the spouses are in more contact with each other: they live in the same room, sleep in the same bed, and even in case of infection, they do not always have the opportunity for complete isolation. In addition, caring for the sick often falls on the shoulders of the partner, which also increases the risk of infection.
At the same time, the authors of the study were unable to determine the risk of infection during sexual contact between spouses. The scientists noted that more research is needed to evaluate this transmission route.
There is also good news: if an adult family member is sick with COVID-19, the chances of transmitting the virus to children is rather small. Only 16.8% of patients enrolled in the study infected the children with whom they live together. Perhaps this is due to the fact that children are much less susceptible to infection compared to adults.
“Given that people with suspected coronavirus or confirmed COVID-19 are sent to home isolation, households remain an important place for the spread of SARS-CoV-2,” the authors of the meta-analysis concluded. Scientists recalled the need to be vigilant in case of illness of a family member.