How much do super-spreader events, season changes affect spread of COVID-19?

New CDC report updates risk of COVID-19 to pregnant women

How much do super-spreader events, season changes affect spread of COVID-19?
How much do super-spreader events, season changes affect spread of COVID-19?

Is COVID-19 spread affected by the seasons, and if so, what does that mean for the winter ahead? How important are super-spreader events in the explosion of cases across the world?

Plus, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention updated a report on the risk that COVID-19 poses for pregnant women.

Risk for pregnant women

Previously, the CDC said pregnant women might be at an increased risk for severe illness associated with COVID-19.

That has since been changed. Now, experts believe pregnant women are indeed at an increased risk, based on the results of a new report.

The CDC’s less strongly worded recommendation was based on early date. Officials have now looked at more than 400,000 women with symptomatic COVID-19, of which more than 23,000 were pregnant.

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After adjusting the data for age, ethnicity and other medical conditions, pregnant women were three times more likely to be admitted to an intensive care unit and require ventilators.

The risk of death was 70% higher.

It’s important to emphasize that the overall risk is still low. The risk of death among women of childbearing age with COVID-19 was only 0.12% in the study.

Seasonal affects

COVID-19 continued to spread over the summer, causing some experts to suggest it might not be as seasonal as many had hoped.

But there’s concern among others that the summer cases might have signaled the calm before the storm that’s coming this winter.

Research at the University of Michigan on the four commonly circulating human coronaviruses associated with mild respiratory illnesses has shown an increase in activity from October through May, with a peak in January and February.

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Other research has found this pattern was especially pronounced as it moved further north of the equator.

SARS-CoV-2 is unique, and it hasn’t been around long enough to know with certainty how it will behave. But it if does what other coronaviruses do, there’s potential for explosive growth this winter.

Super-spreader events

Researchers at MIT looked at more than 50 well-documented super-spreader events across the world.

Super-spreader events are defined as one person spreading COVID-19 to more than six people at a single event.

Using mathematical modeling, researchers concluded the events are far more common than expected, and limiting gatherings to 10 or fewer people could significantly reduce the impact of super-spreaders.

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.