After a new study released by the Center for Disease Control, top immunologists in the nation have called for a continued shutdown, suggesting a link between the spread of COVID-19 and going out to eat.
In an interview with MSNBC, Drs. Anthony Fauci said that as long as the prevalence of COVID-19 could be maintained in areas of the country in view of increasing cases, bars and restaurants should remain closed.
Dr. “When you have a high degree of infection in restaurants, indoors, in the community, you’re not wearing a mask, that’s a problem,” Fauci said.
‘Bars are an important place to spread infection, there is no doubt about this.’
In a CDC study released last week, researchers spoke with hundreds of Americans, asking more than 300 diseased patients to be tested at 11 health care facilities across the United States, including Baystate Medical Center in Springfield and Beth in Boston. Israel Deaconess Medical Center is included.
Patients were asked about their work and recreational activities before following the social distinction protocol and wearing masks, as well as receiving a positive diagnosis for coronavirus.
Social activities were asked about whether they were shopping, dining in a restaurant and going to a coffee shop, gym or salon.
Nearly half of the participants reported shopping indoors or going to others within two weeks of reporting symptoms. No significant differences were observed between case-patients and control-participants in less than 10 shopping or small gatherings in a household. However, the researchers say the data suggest a strong relationship between dining out and positive COVID cases.
The report stated, “Adults with positive SARS-CoV-2 test results were nearly twice as likely to dine in a restaurant than those with negative SARS-CoV-2 test results.” Researchers said it includes indoor food as well as courtyard and outdoor seating.
The CDC study cites social disturbances and difficulty maintaining mask use while eating and drinking on site.
In Massachusetts, restaurants were restricted to serving only at the end of March amid a series of COVID health orders, including the closure of schools and non-essential businesses.
In months since the state has reopened in phases, the restaurant was allowed to offer outdoor dining in early June under strict restrictions, then indoor dining two weeks later.
For indoor feeding, the tables should be placed at least 6 feet from each other, until the tables are separated by some blockage. Tables can only have groups of six people.
All patrons must wear a mask while waiting to be seated. Restaurants cannot hand out reusable menus and must either offer a single-use paper menu or use a chalkboard or online menu to display items.
Restaurants are being encouraged to use call-forward seating or reservations.
If a restaurant has a case of COVID-19, it will have to undergo temporary cleaning.
More information about the guidelines can be found here.
The bar cannot reopen until the state enters its final phase of reopening, which is about to begin when a vaccine is available. Bars were moved to the final stage in June. The government Charlie Baker said the decision was taken because of issues presented in other states.
“The big issue with respect to the bars is coming up with a model that we can actually safely believe,” Baker said. “As we have seen in many other places across the country, which have proceeded very aggressively, they have seen a significant increase in new cases, and we are going to work very hard to make sure that ‘in Massachusetts.’ it happens.’
The Commonwealth is one of more than two dozen states with a relatively small number of new cases compared to other parts of the US
Massachusetts officials confirmed 419 new cases of COVID-19, totaling at least 124,139 as of Thursday. The statewide death toll this week since the epidemic began was 9,000.