CDC Study: Your risk of getting COVID-19 from housemates, even kids, is high

Coronavirus Updates

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(ABC4) — Staying home as much as possible is a best practice for avoiding COVID-19 infection.

But a CDC-supported study shows that COVID-19 also spreads within homes often, quickly, and among both adults and children.

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The study, which ranged from April 2020 through September 2020, observed index patients (the first person in their home to contract COVID-19) and the members of their household. These individuals received remote training on how to record their symptoms and collect self specimens like nasal swabs and saliva samples every day over a 14-day period.

Francy Sandoval
Francy Sandoval poses for a portrait at her home in Melrose Park, Ill., Thursday, April 23, 2020. She works as a receptionist at a community health clinic which treats multiple COVID-19 cases. She has to isolate herself in the attic as soon as she comes home from work each day and is terrified of infecting her family. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Out of 191 household members living with someone with COVID-19, 102 tested positive for the virus during a follow-up, the study says.

The study found that about 75% of secondary infections happened within five days of when the index patient first got sick with COVID-19. And the spread happened regardless of whether the index patient was an adult or child.

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But what does this study tell about staying safe in your own home?

  • People in the household who have tested positive for COVID-19, who have been exposed to COVID-19, or are experiencing symptoms should self-isolate right away.
  • Everyone in the home should wear a mask in shared spaces.

According to Jenny Johnson, Public Information Officer with the Utah Department of Health, people living with someone with COVID-19 should quarantine for ten days, no exceptions.

“Your risk of getting infected by someone who lives with you who has COVID is so high, and it is much higher than having exposure even in a workplace,” she says. “At home, you’re most likely not wearing a mask every time you’re around someone you live with. You have constant re-exposures that can happen…”

Read more about the study at

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