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Why You Should Continue to Work from Home If You Can During COVID-19

Experts say people who work from home are far less likely to get COVID-19 than those who have to commute to their workplace. 10’000 Hours/Getty Images
• A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises people to work from home if they can during the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Agency officials say that’s because it appears people who go to a workplace are twice as likely to get COVID-19 than those who work from home.
• Experts say there are a number of safety precautions you can take on the job, including mask wearing and hand sanitizing.
• They also note that the commute can be as risky as the job itself, so precautions should be taken while riding the train or bus. As reported COVID-19 cases continue to reach record highs heading into winter, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that workers should be allowed to work remotely if they can. That recommendation comes after the agency found that employed adults who tested positive for COVID-19 were twice as likely to report going to a workplace with other people than those who tested negative. These results held true for both essential workers in critical infrastructure and those simply working in offices where employers have decided to resume in-person work. “The only way to prevent infection spread in the workplace is to keep sick people away from well people,” said Murray Cohen, PhD, MPH, a retired CDC infectious disease epidemiologist and medical adviser to Wello, a company that makes temperature check devices. “In addition to allowing off-site telecommuting, employers need to think about flexible hours that space out the number of people at work at the same time; limit congregating in snack rooms, waiting rooms, or other communal spaces in their facilities; and assuring that regular cleaning includes at least daily decontamination of high-touch and horizontal surfaces with a disinfectant listed by the [Environmental Protection Agency] as effective against coronavirus,” Cohen said. In addition, “mask wearing should be mandatory whenever any additional worker is at a workstation, and hand sanitizing stations should be easily accessible to all workers throughout the workday,” Cohen told Healthline. “These same work rules apply to visitors, customers, delivery, and contract workers.”

While the research didn’t look specifically at the dangers involved with commuting to and from work, experts say there can be as many dangers during the commute itself as there are within the workplace. “I suspect that the highest-risk places are those that we don’t think about,” Dr. Sharon Nachman, a leader on infectious and pediatric infectious diseases at Stony Brook Medicine, told Healthline. Those include touching door handles, drinking coffee near others, and not paying close attention to wearing masks correctly. “For commuters, we need to think about being careful to not touch our faces,” she said. “Masks will prevent inhalation of particles in the air, but touching of surfaces and then your face is another way viruses travel. So being careful and using hand sanitizer when you are in your seat should become a routine practice,” Nachman said. Read from source….