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Birthday Gatherings Increase COVID-19 Risk

Jun 24, 2021 6:07 pm

How risky are family gatherings, birthday parties and informal social gatherings? A cross-sectional analysis suggests that birthdays may be associated with increased rates of COVID-19 infection within households where there is a high COVID-19 prevalence in the population. 

Using administrative health care data on 2.9 million households during 2020, they found among counties with a higher prevalence (top decile of) of COVID-19, households celebrating a birthday had an increase in COVID-19 diagnoses (8.6 more cases per 10 000 individuals) compared with households without a birthday - this equates to a 31% of county-level prevalence.

The increase in numbers were different according to the age of the birthday celebrant:

  • increase in COVID-19 diagnoses of 15.8 per 10 000 persons after a child birthday
  • increase in COVID-19 diagnoses of 5.8 per 10 000 among households with an adult birthday.

Caution with social gatherings is still suggested, especially if one cannot ensure the vaccination status of those attending the gathering. 

The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose related to this subject

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