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Coronavirus cases are surging across the US, and many transmissions are happening behind closed doors. 

Small household gatherings are an increasing threat right now, Centers For Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said in a call to governors on Tuesday, according to CNN. And with the weather getting colder and family holidays on the horizon, there will be even more occasions to gather indoors.

The problem is, most people don’t have signs in their homes saying “keep your distance, wear a mask, wash your hands,” Peter Chin-Hong, MD, professor of medicine at University of California-San Francisco, told Insider. On top of that, you may be more likely to have your guard down among those you’d invite into your home.

“People may think of that inner sanctum of your domicile as having a force field around COVID, but of course that isn’t the case,” Chin-Hong said.

The best way to keep your household safe is to form a tight social circle, or bubble, and strictly limit who you see indoors. But bubbles will pop if pushed to their limits — don’t let yours burst this winter.

If you’re going to form a bubble, be prepared to ask some hard questions

Forming a coronavirus bubble is like signing a social contract, Chin-Hong said. You’re agreeing to take on whatever level of risk your bubble-mates may incur in their daily lives, and to mitigate the risk you’re bringing into the bubble. 

The least complicated social bubble is a single household where you’re forced to be transparent about your day-to-day activities and exposures, said Barun Mathema, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

If you want to expand your bubble beyond your household, you need to do your due diligence to create that transparency, Mathema told Insider. Those conversations may be awkward, he said, but you can blame any social discomfort on the pandemic.

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“I’ve done this personally myself, saying, ‘Listen, this is very awkward, but I just need to ask this question,'” Mathema said. “‘I would be irresponsible to myself and my family, and to you and your family, if we didn’t have this conversation.'”

The bigger the bubble, the higher the chance of someone breaking the social contract, Chin-Hong said. Two family units, or eight to ten people, can be manageable, but the risk goes up if you include people from multiple households (say, eight people from four different households).

Beware of the ‘super-bubble’

If you’ve ever seen a bubble machine churn out a stream of suds, you may have noticed that smaller bubbles tend to stick together and form a giant super-bubble. That bubble can burst at the slightest disturbance.

Mathema said the same thing can happen with coronavirus bubbles. You may think you know the goings-on within your bubble, but if someone in your group has an additional bubble, you lose control over your potential exposures.

“At face value, it’s really uncomplicated,” Mathema said. “But when you add in social networks and human behavior, and the fact that we are social …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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