The supermarket employees They are essential workers, although until the arrival of the Covid pandemic not everyone relapsed into this. Now they also play one of the largest risk professions nowadays. And it is that a group of Harvard researchers has discovered that the 20% of supermarket workers in Massachusetts (USA) gave positive in Covid, and that most of them had no symptoms when tested.

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Another added problem is that a large proportion of Covid-19 cases are asymptomatic, but transmission also occurs in the presymptomatic phase of patients who eventually experience symptoms. According to studies, these patients are contagious from two days before the first symptoms appear.

The infection rate among workers in supermarkets and grocery stores it was “significantly higher than in other social groups “, according to the research.

The study, which was first published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine, reveals that employees with direct exposure to customers had five times more likely to test positive for Covid.

“We did the study because during the first months of COVID a lot of emphasis was placed on healthcare workers, but not in other essential workers ”, he explained to Fox News Dr. Justing Yang, professor at the Boston University School of Medicine and researcher at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health (USA).

“Physical barriers (Plexiglas) and wearing a mask would greatly reduce the risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2,” Yang added.

Mandatory mask

While the percentage may seem “scary,” there is a detail that explains the unexpected findings. The study took place in May, and Yang noted that Massachusetts made it mandatory to wear a mask in public places after the study was published. The CDC didn’t begin recommending the use of masks until early April.. The more people use face masks inside indoor environments such as grocery stores, the lower the risk of transmission and the greater protection both customers and workers will have, is extracted from the study.

“I think for stores in places where it is mandatory mask, we most likely won’t see these kinds of figures, “Yang said.” However, for supermarkets in areas where the mask is not mandatory, the scenario that our work describes could be in stores. “

The researchers pointed out that similar studies carried out in China revealed that the percentage of supermarket employees with Covid knowledge amounted to 9.2%, according to BGR.