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This is why we stay home

Wednesday, Apr 8, 2020

* Olivia Messer at the Daily Beast

The night before a funeral in February, a Chicago man shared a three-hour takeout meal with two family members of the deceased. The next day, at the service, he took part in a potluck dinner, hugging those in mourning. In the following days, he swung by a birthday party.

Throughout these simple, seemingly innocuous encounters, the man had mild symptoms of what authorities now know to be the novel coronavirus, and health officials believe he may have been a so-called super-spreader who unwittingly transmitted the infection to as many as 16 people, resulting in three deaths.

The account of community spread in an Illinois cluster is the product of an investigation conducted in February and March by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Chicago Department of Public Health. It shows how easily the virus can be transmitted, even with limited contact—and provides a cautionary tale for Americans thinking of breaking social-distancing guidelines. […]

Super-spreaders—or patients who are extra contagious—have become a notable feature of the virus. Experts have pointed to cases like that of a lawyer in New Rochelle, New York who may have helped trigger an outbreak there, and a man in the United Kingdom who may have transmitted the virus to nearly a dozen people before realizing he was sick earlier this year.

The CDC featured this case in its weekly Morbidity and Mortality report

This cluster comprised 16 cases of COVID-19 (seven confirmed and nine probable), with transmission mostly occurring between nonhousehold contacts at family gatherings. The median interval from last contact with a patient with confirmed or probable COVID-19 to first symptom onset was 4 days. Within 3 weeks after mild respiratory symptoms were noted in the index patient, 15 other persons were likely infected with SARS-CoV-2, including three who died. Patient A1.1, the index patient, was apparently able to transmit infection to 10 other persons, despite having no household contacts and experiencing only mild symptoms for which medical care was not sought.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Stuff Happens - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 2:00 pm:

    Worst superpower ever. :(

  2. - Last Bull Moose - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 2:08 pm:

    I do not expect to dine out or go to church until after I am vaccinated. That could be in 18 months.

    Wonder if hymns will disappear for a while. Group singing appears to spread the virus.

  3. - Responsa - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 2:17 pm:

    I was raised amid a large multi-generational family where there was a great deal of love, interaction and support but very little physical hugging (outside of children). It was not until college and entering business and marrying into a family of huggers that I understood how much hugging goes on in the world. For better or worse I imagine there is going to be a lot less hugging and handshaking in the future after this virus dissipates.

  4. - btowntruth from forgottonia - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 2:18 pm:

    Just had a lovely chat with my mother on the phone.
    She wanted me to take her to the Farm and Home 25 miles away in Jacksonville because they have her favorite pretzels on sale.
    “I wanna go somewhere.”
    Got mad at me when I told her no.
    She is 72,has COPD thanks to fifty years of heavy smoking,and had a bout with pneumonia last winter that she hasn’t been the same from.

    Drive her over there for a doctors visit?Absolutely.
    For a dollar off a bag of pretzels and because she wanted to go somewhere?
    Two months ago that would have been ok and fun.
    Now? That would be a hard and fast no.

  5. - WeAreAVillage - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 2:22 pm:

    Terrible thing for him and everybody else involved.
    There but for God goes any of us, that’s why we need to stay home, protect others.

  6. - Huh - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 2:23 pm:

    This is why this disease is so scary. The range of effects are bewildering. From asymptomatic carriers to fatal pneumonia.

  7. - Amalia - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 2:26 pm:

    this kind of reporting is vital to understanding what is happening in some places and not in others. large gatherings like church or synagogue or family gatherings are dangerous.

  8. - Perrid - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 3:58 pm:

    West Wing, there’s pretty much no chance of a vaccine before July of next year, and even that would be so quick it borders on irresponsible. To date the shortest turnaround time on developing a vaccine to being licensed was mumps, and it took 4 years. Most vaccines take more than a decade, the rotavirus vaccine took 26 years. Running multiple large, control double blind studies takes a lot of time, but they are needed to make sure the vaccine is both effective and safe.

  9. - Monadnock Pigeon - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 4:35 pm:

    ==btowntruth from forgottonia==

    I’m having the same kind of problems with my own diabetic, immuno-compromised 78-year old mother. As a consolation prize, I signed her up for a service that sends her a box of snacks from a different foreign country every month. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s helped some.

  10. - revvedup - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 5:22 pm:

    It’s the modern-day version of Typhoid Mary; never actually developed typhoid, but sickened many others.
    This is why the pipe dream of returning to normal life isn’t gonna be when the President or Governor or your boss says so; it’s when we can do large-scale testing and treatment. I have health issues putting me in the high-risk group despite being on ly 54; I’m staying home 2-4 days at a time, and limiting time in public settings and using homemade PPE.

  11. - Lynn S. - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 11:49 pm:

    Not trying to defend Typhoid Mary, but part of the reason she’s so infamous is that she had been told she was an asymptomatic carrier, and that her line of work (private family cook) increased the likelihood that she would sicken others.

    She then started changing her name every time she took a new job, in an attempt to evade public health authorities.

    The folks cited in Rich’s post didn’t seem to know that they had Covid-19, so they went about their normal lives, and wound up making many others sick.

    Unlike Typhoid Mary, who was unrepentant about her health status, I currently have no reason not to believe that if the folks in the story had known they were carriers, they would have gone into quarantine.

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