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Infectious disease expert explains how ‘bubbles’ can protect families vs COVID-19

Ahead of the upcoming holidays, the Department of Health warned the public against gatherings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

According to infectious disease expert Dr. Rontgene Solante, “bubbles” can provide families or groups of people living together a certain layer of protection.

“The concept of the bubble is that lahat kayo nandito sa isang location, sa isang area, na all of you know your status of your COVID infection, and basically all of you are negative,” he said on Ivan Mayrina’s “24 Oras” report Thursday.

The report said experts had advised the public to stay within their bubble and avoid the “tayo tayo lang naman sa pamilya” mindset.

In a bubble, said the report, the members know of each other’s risk and levels of exposure. Once a new element is introduced into it—for instance if an extended family member makes a visit and stays in their house for a long period—the bubble may disperse and the virus may easily enter.

“Sa magkaibang bahay maski immediate family members ’yan, you don’t know the exposure history of those outside that house na pupunta lang doon sa bahay for the gathering,” said Soledad. “Since we don’t know the risk of exposure, we don’t know also that they may be asymptomatically carrying the virus.”

If gatherings cannot be avoided, the DOH suggests that these be held at open spaces with good ventilation, and interactions should be limited to 15 minutes only.

The 15-minute window, however, is still not a guarantee that the virus won’t spread. “The 15 minutes is just one ingredient. Even if it’s less than 15 minutes but you’re so close, singing in front of these people, you are shouting, hugging each other, that defeats the purpose of the 15 minutes. – RC, GMA News