Health officials are worried about restaurants that are linked to the outbreak of the coronavirus. However, there is still not enough data regarding contact tracing, and this has left diners in the dark about which restaurants to avoid during this pandemic.
When Health departments were contacted in this regard across many counties, only a few of them had the relevant data and reported the potential links between coronavirus cases and restaurants. Some of the counties had not even announced any change to their indoor restaurant dining policy even after the number of infections continued to grow at a rapid pace in the region.
Public Health researchers are convinced about the risk factors involved with indoor dining facilities as this can become super-spreaders of the coronavirus. But there is a lack of data to justify any sort of restrictions on these restaurants. Health experts believe that they need a lot of resources to investigate such matters and contact tracing efforts need to be done at a large scale. Across the country, the efforts with regards to contact tracing have never got a solid kick start, and it is unlikely that it will move forward shortly.
In this situation, it is very hard to get specific information about hotspots in the city. Several restaurants and bars have become super-spreaders in the past, and the public is still clueless about which one to avoid during this pandemic situation.
Some health experts believe that the situation could have taken a different turn, and they missed a fantastic opportunity to use contact tracing. When contact tracing is implemented systematically, it can give excellent information about where the authorities need to intervene to contain the spread of the virus. When contact tracing for other infectious diseases like HIV was done in the past, it was done systematically, and the process yielded very good results.
In the US, contact tracing for coronavirus has not been done in a systematic way since the beginning due to lack of resources. Apart from that, for contact tracing to become successful, public participation is important, and there is a lack of public trust with regards to the covid-19 situation in the country. The contact tracing departments do not have enough resources, and they can gather only a small amount of data that cannot give a complete picture of the covid-19 situation.
As the winter season is fast approaching, most people are gathering indoors, and this can lead to a huge surge in the number of covid-19 cases in the next few weeks. However, authorities are turning a blind eye to this situation, and they are not imposing restrictions on restaurants and bars during the holiday season.
Even though several studies have been done on the spread of coronavirus at restaurants and bars, they are still very small to provide any solid proof on these locations being super spreaders. The virus usually spreads through respiratory droplets from an infected person, and it can be released by coughing, sneezing or even while talking to another person without using a mask. Many activities at restaurants and bars are considered high risk as people usually cannot wear masks while eating and drinking. This can expose several people at once as the ventilation is usually not sufficient enough to remove all the virus from the place in a short duration of time.
Even if a single infected person enters a crowded bar, it puts everyone else under high risk of contracting the virus. In this situation, such outlets can become Super spreaders within a short duration of time. Health authorities have highlighted such facts in their research, and the role of restaurants and bars in spreading the pandemic cannot be neglected.
According to a study done by the CDC in several States, many patients who tested positive for covid-19 had dined at restaurants shortly before they got infected. When the same study compared the risk of infection linked to shopping and other activities like working in offices, it was found that the risk factor was significantly lesser when compared to dining at restaurants.
Given the situation, health experts suggest that restaurant restrictions should be in place whenever there is a surge in the number of cases in any particular region. Experts believe that if restaurants are operating at their full capacity, they have the potential to spread the virus many times when compared to other locations.