This is the transmission rate of COVID-19 during the train journey

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A study by scientists at the University of Southampton analyzed the risks of trapping COVID-19 aboard a train car carrying an infectious person. The results reveal the importance of barrier measures and, in particular, the use of a mask.

Researchers from the University of Southampton (England) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences conducted a study, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, to find out if it was possible to catch COVID-19 from a train car carrying an infectious person. Yes, they say, but under certain conditions: the risk of contamination depends directly on the seat occupied in relation to the infected person and the time of shared travel.

The researchers performed a modeling in which the train passengers are seated within three rows (width) and five columns (length) of an infected person. This showed that between 0 and 10% of them could contract the disease and that the average transmission rate for these travelers in close contact was 0.32%. Passengers traveling in seats directly adjacent to the infected patient have also been shown to experience the highest level of transmission, averaging 3.5%. For those sitting in the same row, the figure dropped to 1.5%, while 0.075% of people who used a seat previously occupied by this patient contracted the disease.

"The location of the seat and the duration of the trip make the difference"

Additionally, researchers are interested in the "attack rate" for each seat, which is the number of passengers in a given seat diagnosed with COVID-19 divided by the total number of passengers traveling in the same seat, knowing that the times Travel ranged from less than an hour to eight hours. The results showed that it increases by 0.15% for every hour that a passenger travels with a sick person. For those who occupy nearby seats, this rate was 1.3% per hour. The data used for this model spanned a period from December 19, 2019 to March 6, 2020, and included 2,334 infected patients and 72,093 close contacts.

"Our study shows that although there is a risk of COVID-19 transmission on trains. A person's seat location and an infectious person's travel time can make a big difference, "says Dr. Shengjie Lai, lead author of the study. For the researchers, these results reveal the importance of reducing passenger density. and hygiene measures during the pandemic, including the use of a face mask and possibly temperature controls before boarding. In particular, they recommend a safety distance of more than one meter for an hour of travel for passengers in the same row as a sick person.

On the other hand, if the trip lasts more than two hours, they consider that a distance of 2.5 meters may be insufficient to avoid transmission. "Our research is the first to quantify the individual risk of transmission of COVID-19 on public transportation based on epidemiological survey data. This shows that the risk of transmission is not just about the distance of an infected person, but also of the time he spends in their presence. We hope this can help inform authorities about the necessary measures to protect themselves against the virus and help reduce its spread, "the scientific team concludes.

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