Transmission dynamics of COVID-19 in household and community settings in the United Kingdom
Jamie Lopez Bernal,
Tatiana Garcia Vilaplana,
Nicola L Boddington,
Mary E Ramsay,
Posted 22 Aug 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.08.19.20177188
Posted 22 Aug 2020
Background: Households appear to be the highest risk setting for transmission of COVID-19. Large household transmission studies were reported in the early stages of the pandemic in Asia with secondary attack rates ranging from 5-30% but few large scale household transmission studies have been conducted outside of Asia. Methods: A prospective case ascertained study design based on the World Health Organization FFX protocol was undertaken in the UK following the detection of the first case in late January 2020. Household contacts of cases were followed using enhanced surveillance forms to establish whether they developed symptoms of COVID-19, became confirmed cases and their outcomes. Household secondary attack rates and serial intervals were estimated. Individual and household basic reproduction numbers were also estimated. The incubation period was estimated using known point source exposures that resulted in secondary cases. Results: A total of 233 households with two or more people were included with a total of 472 contacts. The overall household SAR was 37% (95% CI 31-43%) with a mean serial interval of 4.67 days, an R0 of 1.85 and a household reproduction number of 2.33. We find lower secondary attack rates in larger households. SARs were highest when the primary case was a child. We estimate a mean incubation period of around 4.5 days. Conclusions: High rates of household transmission of COVID-19 were found in the UK emphasising the need for preventative measures in this setting. Careful monitoring of schools reopening is needed to monitor transmission from children.
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