This is how likely you are to catch coronavirus at uni if your flatmate tests positive

Opening windows can reduce your chances of getting it

Universities across the UK have seen a massive spike in coronavirus cases among students, and thousands of student houses and flats are isolating up and down the country. With students living in close proximity to each other in cramped houses with poor ventilation, how likely are you to catch coronavirus if your housemate tests positive?

Talks of a second wave are circulating with coronavirus cases rising day on day and with so many new cases, it stops being a question of “if I get COVID” and more “when”. Oskana Pyzik, an infectious diseases expert, told the Huffington Post exactly how likely you are you catch coronavirus if your housemate tests positive, and ways you can prevent getting COVID-19.

How likely are you to catch coronavirus if your housemate tests positive?

“A study conducted in New York demonstrated that approximately 38 per cent of household contacts tested positive”, Pyzik told the Huffington Post. Pyzik explains coronavirus transmission is even more likely to occur indoors rather than outdoors due to ventilation. With online lectures for most universities in semester one, students are going to be spending all day in their houses even if they are not isolating, therefore transmission is likely.

Pyzik added the risk of infection increases with prolonged contact, therefore you are more likely to catch coronavirus from a person you spend a lot of time with such as housemates. If your housemate has tested positive for COVID-19 there is a high chance you will too, however it is still possible for some people to come into contact with the virus and not be infected.

Oskana Pyzik also said: “Although the public view household visits as a low-risk activity, a significant number of super spreader events are linked to contact within households when widespread community control measures are in place.

“Students who have part-time jobs as essential or key workers place higher risk on household contacts as they are more frequently exposed to infectious individuals than the general population”.

What can you do to reduce your chances of catching coronavirus from a housemate?

Pyzik explains the risk of transmission decreases in halls and private housing when shared areas such as kitchens are closed, however this is often not possible.

There are a number of things people can do to reduce their risk of transmission: Opening windows and trying to stay at least one metre apart from housemates could help lower the 38 per cent transmission rate. Equally, closing the toilet seat before you flush may reduce the “cloud of virus-containing aerosol droplets” from circulating around your bathroom. Good hand and surface hygiene are paramount, even in normal circumstances.

If a housemate has tested positive for coronavirus or has symptoms, try to avoid coming into contact with them and avoid sharing kitchen and bathroom products such as hand towels, plates and cutlery. Some experts have even recommended wearing face masks in the home.

Related articles recommended by this writer:

University of Manchester now has over 1,000 cases of coronavirus on campus

Oxford Uni students coughed at staff telling them to observe social distancing rules

Students in Unite halls aren’t being told about Covid outbreaks in their buildings