This Study of Sitting Position in Public Transportation Affects COVID-19 Infection Rate


In the new study, published July 29 in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, researchers analyzed information from passengers traveling by train, between mid-December 2019 and the end of February 2020, covering the period before COVID-19 was identified until the peak of the outbreak in China.

The researchers identified more than 2,300 passengers known as “index patients” who spread the COVID-19 virus in 14 days of train travel, with more than 72,000 passengers seated near the patient.

In total, 234 of the 72,000 closest passengers infected with COVID-19 were related to their train journey. That means the average “attack rate” is around 0.32%. Those who sit right next to an infected person have the highest risk of contracting the infection, with an average attack rate of 3.5%.

For those sitting in the same row, but not so close to an infected person, the average attack rate is 1.5%. That’s about 10 times higher than the attack rate for people sitting one or two rows of infected people.

The length of time a person travels also affects their risk. On average, attack rates increase by 0.15% every hour someone travels with an infected passenger. And for those who sit next to an infected person, the attack rate increases by 1.3% every hour.

But after an infected person gets off the train, those who sit in the same seat appear to be at low risk of being infected. Among 1,342 people who sat in seats that were previously occupied by infected people, only one person was declared infected. So according to CTV News, it was concluded that the attack rate was only 0.075%.

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