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By Nancy Clanton, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Madison Grey for (CNT) City News and Talk #local-all

Having a dog might provide companionship during the coronavirus pandemic, but a new study from Spain shows walking your pet could increase your risk of contracting COVID-19.

Spain is one of the countries most affected by the spread of the virus. This study, performed throughout the Spanish territory, sought to clarify the main causes of transmission of the COVID-19 disease during confinement and some risk factors, in order to detect the critical points of exposure to the virus and thus reduce its spread.

The researchers included 41 questions related to six dimensions: sociodemographic characteristics (sex, age, educational level); home characteristics (type of residence, cohabiting people, housemaids working at home); pets (kind of pet and walking habits); work activity (working on-site during the confinement, work space); protection (use of mask, gloves, hydroalcoholic gel, disinfectant products, laundry); mobility (using public transportation, visit to supermarket, pharmacy, tobacco shop, bank, medical care center, home delivery); other diseases or health conditions (smoker, previous diseases, overweight or obesity, pharmacological treatment, physical activity).

Surveys from 2,086 people were collected April 4 to May 5.

According to the results, the researchers found a person who walks their dog increases their risk of getting the coronavirus by 78%.

Although the researchers noted it was unclear if the dogs acted as a carrier or if the pet owners came in contact with COVID-19, they said pet owners should pay extra attention to personal hygiene as flu season arrives and the virus resurges.

The survey also found:

Living with a COVID-19 patient increased the risk of contagion by 60 times.

The most effective hygiene measure was disinfecting products purchased.

Working on site at the workplace increased the risk of contagion by 76%.

Obtaining basic products using home delivery service raised the risk of contagion.

Being outside is “much less of a risk, but it is a risk, if you are congregating in a way where, for prolonged periods of time, you’re really close together,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been one of the nation’s top infectious disease experts for more than 30 years, said recently. “So you really have to strike a delicate balance.”

Although outdoors is better than indoors, he said, it’s not foolproof. Continue to wear your mask and wash your hands.

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