What is a ‘superspreader event’ and are gyms still safe?

A Hamilton Ont., spin studio recently reported 61 cases of COVID-19, one of the biggest outbreaks of the virus attributed to a business in Canada.

The province and health experts are concerned about potential ‘superspreader events,’ even when preventative measures are followed within indoor places. In this particular case, patient zero showed no symptoms of COVID-19 when they decided to workout in studio.  

Infection control epidemiologist Colin Furness recently told The Morning Show not everyone who tests positive for the virus will infect others.

However, Furness added that in certain conditions, one person can cause many others to get sick, leading to these “superspreader events.”

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“A superspreader event will tend to happen when people are sharing airspace indoors for prolonged periods of time with poor ventilation … that describes restaurants, bars and gyms to a large degree,” Furness said.

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According to a report released by Public Health Ontario earlier this year, asymptomatic people can carry high viral loads and contribute to the spread of the virus. 

“We think more than half of all COVID[-19] spread is fully asymptomatic which means the people who are doing the spreading don’t know to stay home,” Furness said.

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He further explained that the spread of the novel coronavirus contained within a household will have less far-reaching consequences in comparison to community transmissions. 

“It’s when you’re in the community and you give it to several people and they then go into their own households and represent a gigantic amount of risk, that’s a [superspreader] hallmark.”

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He advised people participating in group fitness to always wear a mask when they are around people they do not live with.

Anytime that you are exercising or anyone around you is exercising without a mask, you’ve got risk and this is avoidable risk.”

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To find out more about how superspreaders work and the impact on the second wave, watch the full video above.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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