Small number of carriers can lead to COVID-19 superspreader events

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Scientists from Canada and the United States found that COVID-19 superspreader events can originate from a small number of carriers.

The research is published in Physics of Fluids and was conducted by Swetaprovo Chaudhuri et al.

Among several infectious disease terms to enter the public lexicon, superspreading events continue to make headlines years after the first cases of the COVID-19 pandemic.

How features of the SARS-CoV2 virus lead to some events becoming superspreading events while leaving others relatively benign remains unclear.

In the study, the team created a model to connect what biologists have learned about COVID-19 superspreading with how such events have occurred in the real world.

They used real-world occupancy data from more than 100,000 places where people gather across 10 U.S. cities to test several features ranging from viral loads to the occupancy and ventilation of social contact settings.

They found that 80% of infections occurring at superspreading events arose from only 4% of those who were carrying the virus into the event, called index cases.

The top feature driving the wide variability in superspreading events was the number of viral particles found in index cases, followed by the overall occupancy in social contact settings.

The group’s model draws on numerical simulations and research by others on viral loads and the number of virus-laden aerosols ejected by people, as well as data on the occupancy of a restaurant or area from SafeGraph, a company that generates such data from anonymized cell phone signals.

The team says while there are uncertainties and unknowns, it appears it is rather hard to prevent a superspreading event if the person carrying a high viral load happens to be in a crowded place.

the findings not only underscore the importance of efforts to curb the spread of the virus but also help describe how integral proper planning can be for each situation.

If you care about COVID, please read studies that COVID-19 could cause male infertility and sexual dysfunction, and coffee and veggies may help prevent COVID-19.

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