Many U.S. homes lack sufficient space and plumbing facilities to limit the spread of COVID-19

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More than 1 in 5 U.S. homes lack sufficient space and plumbing facilities to comply with recommendations to limit the household spread of COVID-19

Minority and poor families disproportionately affected

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise those who are infected with or have been exposed to COVID-19 to isolate or quarantine at home in a separate bedroom and bathroom if possible.

Researchers from Case Western Reserve University and the City University of New York at Hunter College used data from the American Housing Survey to determine the feasibility of separate rooms for isolation and quarantine for housing units in the United States.

They found that more than 1 in 5 U.S. homes, housing about one quarter of all Americans, lack sufficient space and plumbing facilities to comply with WHO and CDC recommendations. This proportion is particularly high among homes occupied by minority and poor individuals and among apartments.

The authors suggest that policymakers consider offering (but not requiring) persons needing isolation or quarantine the option of staying at no cost in underutilized hotels, under medical supervision, with free meal delivery and internet and telephone access.

Similar strategies have been used successfully by several Asian countries and might decrease COVID-19 transmission, particularly in minority communities.

Journal reference:

Sehgal, A. R., et al. (2020) Feasibility of Separate Rooms for Home Isolation and Quarantine for COVID-19 in the United States. Annals of Internal Medicine.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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