80 Percent Of Coronavirus Cases Come From A Wildly Small Number Of ‘Superspreader Events,’ Researchers Say

Man wearing a face mask
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As health experts continue to learn more about the novel coronavirus, scientists have warned that the latest data suggests that around 80 percent of infections come from a small number of “superspreader events.” The news comes as COVID-19 infections have affected more than 6.42 million people around the globe, in addition to resulting in 383,000 deaths.

According to Business Insider, a group of researchers in Hong Kong discovered that 80 percent of all coronavirus patients were infected by 20 percent of cases, dubbed “superspreader events.” Meanwhile, 70 percent of infected patients did not pass it on to a single person. Ten percent of those infected passed the virus on to one or two people.

The researchers added that indoor social events — such as weddings, religious gatherings, and other group activities –were the main settings for the superspread.

“That’s the picture we have so far,” Ben Cowling, one of the study coauthors, said of the findings.

“Superspreading events are happening more than we expected, more than what could be explained by chance. The frequency of superspreading is beyond what we could have imagined,” he added.

The new data has been echoed in other studies conducted across the world, with some even pointing to a smaller number of superspreading events. For example, a London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that 10 percent of coronavirus cases accounted for 80 percent of global transmissions.

Other research has even suggested that the number of superspreader events might be even lower than 10 percent. An Israeli study suggested that between 1 and 10 percent of cases caused 80 percent of transmissions. Meanwhile, a Chinese study claimed the number hovered between 8 and 9 percent.

coronavirus testing
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Cowling noted that the information about how the disease has been spread from a small segment of infected patients can help policy makers going forward as many countries begin to reopen after long lockdowns.

“Now we know which measures might give you the most bang for your buck — if we could stop the superspreading from happening, we’d benefit the most people,” Cowling said.

“We’ll be in a much better position to deal with the second wave this fall,” he continued.

“This knowledge gives us the chance to take more measured actions without going into full lockdown again.”

Cowling recommended measures such as avoiding closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings — a policy adopted by Japan and dubbed the “three c’s” rule.

Meanwhile, in other COVID-19 news, the virus’ contagion and death rate appear to be drastically impacted by high altitudes — with experts noting an 80 percent difference, as was previously reported by The Inquisitr.