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Many Community Outbreaks of COVID-19 Traced to Restaurants, Bars

Whether the infections started among workers or patrons is unclear

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 12, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- New data show that many of the community outbreaks of COVID-19 that have cropped up in the United States this summer have originated in restaurants and bars.

In Louisiana, roughly a quarter of the state's 2,360 cases since March that were outside of places like nursing homes and prisons had their origins in bars and restaurants, The New York Times reported. Meanwhile, 12 percent of new COVID-19 cases in Maryland last month were traced to restaurants, while 9 percent of cases in Colorado have been traced to bars and restaurants, the newspaper said.

Whether the infections started among workers or patrons is unclear, but the clusters concern health officials because many restaurant and bar employees are in their 20s and can silently fuel household transmissions, which have soared in recent weeks through the Sun Belt and the West, The Times reported.

This summer, scores of restaurants, including ones in Nashville, Las Vegas, Atlanta, and Milwaukee, have had to close temporarily because of COVID-19 cases among employees, The Times reported. Texas and Florida also had to shut down bars following surges in new cases in those states. In a recent week in San Diego, 15 of the 39 new community cases were traced to restaurants. And in Washington, D.C., cases have climbed since the city reopened indoor dining, the newspaper reported. Indoor dining remains banned in New York City and other places because it has proved far more dangerous than outdoor eating. Public health experts agree that indoor dining, especially in bars, is far more likely to spawn outbreaks than dining in outdoor settings.

The New York Times Article

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