COVID-19’s Serious Seven

One of the problems with our testing and tracing system is that the information gathered often isn’t being to inform what activities appear to be especially risky. As some asshole with a blog put it:

In light of the recent and ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, as well as the earlier anti-COVID-19 restriction protests, we are witnessing many pundits with no epidemiological, medical, or microbiological training opining about whether these protests will lead to a spike in COVID-19 cases (here’s what one actual biologist thinks).

What is frustrating is that this could be treated as an empirical question. We could answer this. I stress could, since, in too many localities, we lack a comprehensive test and trace system–in too many places, it’s still reactive and only examining close contacts. This is something states, with federal guidance and funding, could have built, but did not.

If we had this in place, we would have some idea of the relative roles of protests versus restriction loosening.

It has been very frustrating that most health departments are not providing this kind of guidance.

Thankfully, Oklahoma’s Tulsa Health Department is on the case (boldface mine):

During our contact tracing of positive cases, there are locations routinely coming up as places where clusters of exposure have taken place.

Our epidemiologists have identified transmissions that have occurred at faith-based activities, funerals, house gatherings and other small events.

Our public health colleagues in Oklahoma City have dubbed these and other locations as the “Serious Seven.” Locations where disease transmission is likely to occur, because they involve larger numbers people in close contact.

These Serious Seven: weddings, funerals, faith-based activities, bars, gyms, house gatherings and other small events.

This doesn’t mean every one of these locations aren’t taking the right public health measures, it’s just locations that have been identified as places where risk of spread is higher due to close contact settings.

We are not seeing a large amount of positive cases from grocery stores likely due to social distancing measures in place. It is still important to wear a mask when entering a store or other retail environment.

They even have a handy figure*:


Bars seem to be especially bad.

More like this, please. Are you watching D.C. Health…

*Waiting for the conspiracists to find something satanic in the figure.

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1 Response to COVID-19’s Serious Seven

  1. David says:

    Contact tracing for protest attendees could easily turn into police hunting down people in the political opposition.

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