What are odds of COVID-19 spreading to someone in same household as infected person?

New study examines how coronavirus spreads within households

What are odds of COVID-19 spreading to someone in same household as infected person?
What are odds of COVID-19 spreading to someone in same household as infected person?

DETROIT – If you or someone in your household becomes infected by the coronavirus (COVID-19), what are the odds of it spreading to your family? Who is at the highest risk?

A newly published study addressed those questions to help guide people toward the best way to protect everyone.

Many people are wondering if someone they live with develops COVID-19, do they need to wear masks at home, stop using shared spaces and isolate from everyone else.

All of those measures can help prevent the spread, but the fact is many families don’t have the space to distance or isolate at home.

A new study published in Clinical Infections Diseases examined the spread of COVID-19 in 58 households in Utah and Wisconsin. Those states were chosen because at the time of the study, there was limited community spread, so if someone became infected, it was likely to have happened in their home, rather than the community.

Among the 58 households studied, 54% of them saw the virus spread to at least one other person.

When spread occurred, children under 18 years old were the most commonly infected at 42%, followed by adult children over 18 years old at 35% and spouses or partners of the first patient at 33%, according to experts.

The virus was more likely to spread when the first infected person was male -- 36% compared to 18% when that person was female, researchers said.

Officials found household members with diabetes were significantly more likely to become infected, at 80% of the time. As a result, authors suggested people with diabetes who are both at higher risk for getting infected and developing complications should be especially vigilant in separating from COVID-19 patients and taking other precautionary measures.

The average size of the homes was 2,200 square feet. Researchers said the size of the homes didn’t correlate with the likelihood of spreading COVID-19.

The initially infected patients slept in separate bedrooms 88% of the time, and that didn’t correlate with the risk of spreading the virus to others, either, experts said.

There was no spread in 41% of the households studied, but in 12% of the households, everyone else got infected after the initial patient. The study didn’t distinguish what accounted for that difference.

About the Authors:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.