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Study Finds Community More Likely Than Workplace For COVID Spread

Experts say COVID fatigue leading people to let their guard down more often with friends and family than in the workplace.
Posted at 4:00 AM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-10 06:00:00-05

"Yeah, I knew it was a risk, I knew the dangers of COVID. And it was not an easy decision," said Maurice Fontenot a storyboard artist at Viacom.

We've been there. Let our guard down with COVID protocols when we see friends or family. After all, it's been a year since the pandemic started.

In July of last year Fontenot's father and aunt passed just days from each other due to a long term illness. And he flew from New York to California to bury them. He took a COVID test before he met with family members.  

"When you're going for a funeral, it's going to be a lot of people from your past, from my family's past, you're going to see them. And yes, you want a hug, you want to catch up. You want to get close because this is, you know, a very intimate kind of family thing," said Fontenot. 

Luckily he didn't get COVID, but for Alexander Zaiden, who lives with his parents, it was harder to maintain safety protocols when his father got COVID. 

"Once he started feeling a little bit of a weakness, both of us had to help: my Mom and I. And then eventually at some point, we ended up getting equally as sick," said Zaiden. 

Cedars-Sinai study suggests the common source for COVID exposure is through community like family and friends rather than the workplace. They tested over 6,000 health care workers and found those with COVID antibodies mostly had community-based exposures such as a household member previously diagnosed with the virus.

Psychologist Kevin Nadal said, "When we're in a workplace setting, we tend to put on a professional hat. In communities and families, because people are much more likely to be enjoying themselves, having a good time, spending time with people they love and not thinking about rules and regulations."

"I drove about six hours to be with him, and I don't regret it," said Louisville, Kentucky entreprenuer Sol Builes.

To see her only son, she was willing to take that risk. 

"If I'm going to get it. I'm going to get it with my family," said Builes. 

Experts say it's about balance — weighing that need for connectivity and to be safe.  


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