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Grocery Stores, Offices, Homes & Salons are the Lowest Risk Settings for Catching COVID-19, According to U.S. CDC Study


By:  David Deschesne

Fort Fairfield Journal, April 7, 2021


   A study published last Fall in the U.S. CDC’s Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report shows the lowest risk settings for catching COVID-19, compared to other common respiratory illnesses, were: Grocery/Clothing/Home Goods stores, Office settings, Home gatherings with more than 10 people, Hair salons and Public Transportation.

   The study, entitled; “Community and Close Contact Exposures Associated with COVID-19 Among Symptomatic Adults = 18 Years in 11 Outpatient Health Care Facilities - United States, July 2020 compared people who were symptomatic for COVID-19 and had a positive PCR test (“Case” Group) with people from the same health care facilities who also had symptoms of respiratory illness, but tested negative for COVID-19 (“Control” Group).  It is widely available on the CDC’s website but has been completely ignored by the establishment Left Wing News media because it discredits their fear- and hysteria-based COVID-19 narrative.

   The report showed a common statistical chart with Adjusted Odds Ratios for the following settings.



Home, up to 10 people


Office Setting


Home, more than 10 people


Public Transportation

Bar/Coffee shop

Church/Religious Gathering


   Odds ratios are derived from case/control studies where the risk of exposure in a Case group is compared to the risk of exposure in a Control group.  An Odds Ratio of 1 shows no difference in risk between the two groups.  An Odds Ratio above 1 indicates higher risk for Case over the Control group and an Odds Ratio lower than 1 indicates a negative risk of exposure in the Case group when compared to the Control.   Such studies do not test for causation, only an association between the two groups.

   There were 154 people in the Case Group who had both symptoms of COVID-19 and a positive PCR test.  There were 160 people in the Control Group who had symptoms of respiratory illness of some form but had tested negative for COVID-19.  The participants in both groups were asked if they had been in the above listed locations at any time for the two week period leading up to the onset of their respiratory illness symptoms. 

   The results of those interviews showed Odds Ratios lower than 1 for all forms of shopping, such as grocery stores and other retail settings; office settings; salons; home gatherings with more than 10 people and public transportation.  At first blush, this indicates a lower risk of catching COVID-19 in those settings when compared to other people in the same settings who caught some other form of respiratory illness.

   The AOR chart also displayed an upper and lower range of odds in each group called a 95% Confidence Interval (CI).  If this CI ranges below 1 to above 1, the results are less statistically significant than if it remained all on the side of 1 the Odds Ratio landed on.  The wider the CI ranges, the less statistically significant the data is.

   As can be seen on the chart below (black lines), shopping, office setting and salons all had an Odds Ratio below 1, indicating less risk of catching COVID-19 compared to other illnesses, but the CI ranged slightly from below 1 to a little above 1, thus reducing the significance of the data.  Public transportation also was below 1 (at around 0.75) but its data was much noisier because ranged from as low as 0.25 to as high as 2.5 making its data even less statistically significant.

      According to the CDC chart, Restaurant settings were the only group studied that showed the highest risk of catching COVID-19 with the most statistically significant data because it was the only data point with a CI that ranged entirely above 1.

   The widest range of data was in gyms (0.7 - 3.9); Bars/Coffee shops (0.8 - 5.6); and Church/Religious gatherings (0.6 - 5.0).  This means the risk of catching COVID-19 when  compared to other respiratory illnesses ranged from virtually no risk to  greater than 5 times the risk depending on the situation, room, ventilation, number of people and viral load of those infected.   These settings, along with restaurants, had some of the highest risk odds ratios because they are primarily enclosed spaces, had varying degrees of effective ventilation and had larger numbers of people together for longer periods of time.

   Grocery stores and other retail locations, salons and office settings typically place less people in a room for a shorter period of time who are naturally further apart so the risks for catching COVID-19 were much lower in those locations.

   The highly politicized and divisive use of face masks showed little effect on COVID-19 transmission, despite the Left Wing News media and authoritarian governors worshiping the use of those devices with a cult-like religious mindset.

   Of the 154 people in the Case Group, 130 reported wearing a face mask in public “often or always” but they still caught COVID-19.   In the Control Group, of the 160 people who had symptoms of other non COVID-19 respiratory illness, 141 reported wearing a face mask in public “often” or “always” but still caught a respiratory illness.  Thus, this study seems to indicate what the non-political scientific studies already showed in the past: cloth and surgical face masks, when used in a community setting, have little to no effect on slowing or stopping the spread of a respiratory virus.

   Despite all the media hype and hysteria, reinforced by uneducated users of social media and special interest trolls mindlessly parroting memes and slogans, COVID-19 has been found to have essentially the same fatality rate as seasonal flu - and in the same age demographic of 80+ years of age with multiple co-morbidities.   Children up to age 21 have virtually no chance of catching or spreading COVID-19 and the survival rate for a vast majority of adults in all age groups below 75 yrs in otherwise good health is greater than 99.5%. 

   The only thing that is in fact “deadly and dangerous” about COVID-19 is the fear-based weaponized propaganda promulgated by the Left Wing News media and their accomplices in government by creating a perception in the public mind about COVID-19 that is based in fantasy rather than reality.  While the US CDC continues to publish data that shows this to be the case, it is mostly ignored by the establishment media and authoritarian governors in order to prop up their position and save face in their excessive, coordinated and highly irrational over-response to the virus.


 This Adjusted Odds Ratio Chart shows the relative risk of catching COVID-19 in the designated settings when compared to people who were also in those settings and caught a respiratory illness that was not COVID-19.  The dot indicates the Odds Ratio.  Above 1 is higher risk, below 1 is lower risk.  Each dot has an upper and lower range called a 95% Confidence Interval.  If this CI ranges below 1 to above 1, the results are less statistically significant than if it remained all on the side of 1 the Odds Ratio landed on.  According to this chart, Restaurant settings showed the highest risk with the most statistically significant data because it was the only data point with a CI that ranged above 1.  The Gray lines in the chart are for people who had COVID-19 but were not around other COVID-19 infected people prior to their symptom onset. chart/ US CDC