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Study Shows Household Transmission Of Coronavirus Is Quick And Common

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- If someone in your household catches coronavirus, how long before you get it, too?

"I think what's notable is that the infections occurred quickly," says AHN primary care internist Dr. Marc Itskowitz.

The CDC studied this by following about 100 people who tested positive in Tennessee and Wisconsin from April to September, along with almost 200 household members. They self-collected daily nasal and saliva samples for 14 days.

"Up to 80 or 85 percent of infections can be asymptomatic. So if you really want to know the answer to this question, you have to very closely monitor patients for symptoms but also test people," says Dr. Itskowitz.

More than half of the household members became infected in a week -- three out of four of these, within five days.

"We've been saying the average incubation is about five days. But in this study, it was a little bit faster than that and likely reflects the fact that people are inside, close together, and not wearing masks," Dr. Itskowitz says.

"We have found clinically that even when there is household transmission, it seems that one person in the household gets more symptoms and others get less symptoms," he added.

The study highlights the need to isolate yourself within your house, as best you can, if you get coronavirus.

"To the extent that it's possible, prompt isolation is recommended. If it's possible to be in a separate bedroom, using a separate bathroom, that would be ideal. Masks should be worn in common spaces," says Dr. Itskowitz.

"People don't really think about wearing masks inside their own house. But this would be a scenario where it would be recommended, especially early on," he continues.

After 14 days, if no one else gets sick, you can stop wearing masks at home.

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