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Friendship shopping with protective masks for coronavirus. A picture of girls with shop bags, closed shops. Shopping, tourism and virus concept.

Source: Giuseppe Manfra / Getty

 

An article by El Pais has offered some visual insight into how fast the virus can travel. According to the website, the risk of contagion is at its highest when indoors, but thankfully there are a number of ways you can protect yourself against infection by following a few simple safety measures.

So, what’s the likelihood that you can become infected? Based on a study done in Spain, the data found that nearly 31 percent of coronavirus outbreaks stem from home gatherings with family and friends. We know, it’s not the best to hear, especially if you’re thinking about getting together with your folks for Christmas and New Year. If you spend four hours or more with a group of six people in close quarters while talking loudly and wearing no masks, five people will become infected, according to the visual study.

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The coronavirus is spread through aerosol droplets, which means if an infected individual coughs, breathes, or sneezes, droplets can disperse into the air and remain “suspended for hours,” putting other party-goers at risk of exhaling the infected particles. The risk grows significantly greater if the home or gathering space doesn’t have proper ventilation.  While wearing a mask can reduce the spread of infection, they don’t necessarily prevent transmission if people are exposed for prolonged periods of time. For example, if masks are worn during a small gathering of six, four people are only at risk of infection.

Similarly, restaurants and nightclubs have been found to be major breeding grounds for coronavirus outbreaks. The study found that on average, 27 people have become infected after a night out. For example, if there are 15 patrons in a bar or restaurant and three staff members, assuming there is no proper ventilation, 14 customers would become infected, that’s if no safety measures are put into place. Wearing a mask drastically drops the rate of infection to 8 people.

So, what can you do to stay safe this holiday season? Mask up and get vaccinated! While there have been a number of breakthrough cases among people who are both vaccinated and among those who have received their booster shots, the vaccine will prevent serious hospitalization from the virus. Continue to wash your hands and practice social distancing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends keeping six feet apart from others when in close quarters.

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