The world has spent the last several months wearing masks in public, avoiding gatherings and, in general, spending less time outside the home. But a new report suggests household transmission is one of the most common ways COVID-19 is spreading; an individual is most likely to contract COVID-19 from their spouse or significant other.
That conclusion is part of a new report from the University of Florida which was published in the journal JAMA Network Open on Monday. Researchers looked at the results of 54 studies across 20 countries that included nearly 78,000 subjects.
They found more than one in three, roughly 38%, of COVID-19 patients passed the virus to their spouses or significant others they live with.
"Infection risk was highest for spouses, followed by non-spouse family members and other relatives, which were all higher than other [close] contacts," the authors wrote.
In the studies, about 17% of COVID-19 patients transmitted the virus to children they live with.
Anyone living in the same home as someone who has contracted the coronavirus is at a heightened risk, but researchers say spouses and significant others are more likely to pass along the virus for various reasons, including "intimacy, sleeping in the same room, or longer or more direct exposure to index cases," according to the report's authors.
The researchers found no significant difference between male and female transmission rates inside the home.
A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 53% of people who live with someone who has COVID-19 will contract the virus within seven days.
Health experts have urged those who have COVID-19 or have symptoms to wear a mask in their home, and isolate within the home as much as possible away from others under the same roof.