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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

People with and without coronavirus infections have pretty similar lifestyles, with one big difference: whether they have recently ate or drank in public, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: We all miss restaurants, bars and coffee shops. But going to these places carries extra risk, primarily because eating and drinking, by definition, cannot be done while wearing a mask.

Details: Study participants who tested positive for the coronavirus were about twice as likely as those who tested negative to have dined at restaurants in the two weeks before they got sick.

  • Restaurant dining included indoor, patio, and outdoor seating, and the question did not distinguish between indoor and outdoor options.
  • Coronavirus patients were also more likely to have visited a bar or coffee shop, but only when the analysis was limited to patients who had not had close contact with another known coronavirus patient.

The bottom line: There's still plenty of good reasons to assume that indoor dining is riskier than outdoor dining, and that dining in a crowded restaurant is worse than dining in one that is adhering to social distancing guidelines.

  • But taking off your mask around other people increases your vulnerability to the virus.

Go deeper

Updated 4 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.
20 hours ago - Health

Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
18 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.