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Are Large, multi-Generational Families More Likely to Spread Coronavirus?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Bobby Dazzler, 6 Aug 2020.

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  1. Bobby Dazzler

    Bobby Dazzler

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    My apologies for the length of the post, read it if you want, there's no obligation to read it.

    As there's been much speculation in the media, and this forum, about whether large multi-generational families spread a highly contagious infection quicker, easier, more effective than smaller single generational families, I thought I'd explore it a little.
    This discussion has nothing to do with any other discussion and is purely hypothetical and academic.

    For this hypothetical exploration, let's take two entirely different cultures,ones that don't exist, but it's just to explore the processes. Let's assume that we have identical size of population in both scenarios.
    Let's take one that predominantly (as it's hypothetical I'd accept solely) consists of large multi-generational households, and another that is predominantly (again for this hypothetical scenario, I'd accept, solely) consists of single person households.

    In the event of a full scale pandemic, and subsequent lockdown, which of the two hypothetical scenarios would be a) more likely to spread the infection, and b) easier for government agencies to control, track and trace?

    In the hypothetical scenario of the large multi-generational households, and during lockdown, one member of the family will process all the shopping, and in the event of that person becoming infected, a) only their immediate family will be mostly affected, and b) tracking and tracing their contacts would be simple, fast and effective. It's simply the rest of the family who will be required to isolate.

    In the hypothetical scenario of the single person households, all of the people would be required to process the shopping for essential items, etc, unless they can rely on family members and friends. Therefore almost the entire population will be mixing with everyone else. If any of them become infected, tracking and tracing their contacts would be quite an onerous task. It would take time, resources and people, (people who may also be required to work, travel, etc.)

    Then there is another issue that perhaps ought to be considered: during such a lockdown, which type of household is likely to suffer any psychological effects?

    So, given these two hypothetical scenarios, large multi-generation families are least likely to exacerbate the spread of highly infectious diseases.
    Due to the presence of the other family members, large multi-generational families are least likely to suffer psychological problems.

    Of course those two hypothetical scenarios don't exist. All cultures consist of a full range of all sorts of households. Also there are other aspects that would interfere with the theory, such as essential work, travel, school, etc.

    But I would suggest that large multi-generational families are not, if that is the only aspect to be considered, more likely to speed or extend the spread of highly infectious viruses. Quite the reverse, that type of household is more likely to restrict the speed and spread of contagious diseases and more likely to effect a better degree of control of the virus.
    The very fact that the household consists of multiple generations most likely means that the majority of them may never need to go out at all. Therefore the population intermingling is essentially reduced significantly.
     
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  3. Mottie

    Mottie

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    I think it’s the youngest generation that think they’re invincible, go out, party, mix with others and bring the virus into the home. That’s my theory anyway.
     
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  4. bennymultifinish

    bennymultifinish

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    you need to get a job
     
  5. Brigadier

    Brigadier

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    One:
    - goes out,
    - ignores social distancing,
    - catches it,
    - brings it home to multi - generational home of six others, for example....

    R of 6.

    They go out the next day, infect another, rinse and repeat.....
     
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  6. charliegolf

    charliegolf

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    Yes, would seem to be the logical answer. But you probably knew that before posting eh?
     
  7. Ihavenojob

    Ihavenojob

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    They're overrated .
     
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  8. Bobby Dazzler

    Bobby Dazzler

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    Thank you, Mottie, for your sensible contribution.
    Mottie's concern is, "that youngsters who think they're invincible will continue to socialise and bring the infection home to the rest of the family."

    Let's apply a few tests to the those kind of people, in both given hypothetical scenarios: a) are these young, sociable people more or less likely to behave as they do in the two hypothetical scenarios? b) are they more or less likely to be asymptomatic? and c) are they more or less likely to continue such behaviour while they are asymptomatic?

    a) are these young sociable people more or less likely to behave as they do in the two scenarios?
    Given the large, multi-generational family model, I would suggest that young sociable people are exposed to peer pressure within the home, and would have concern for bringing the infection home, and endangering their, probably, more frail older relatives.
    Where as the young sociable people who live alone are not subject to peer pressure within the home, and would have no concern about bringing the virus into the home.
    Any other pressure from outside is equal to the group involved and can be discounted.

    b) are these young sociable people more or less likely to be asymptomatic? Yes, in both groups.

    c) are they more or less likely to continue their behaviour while they are asymptomatic?
    In the large multi-generational family group, they will undoubtedly spread the infection to the rest of the family, and therefore will be required to isolate when one of their family is tested positive. Therefore their behaviour will be curtailed, either through them realising their selfish behaviour, or due to pressure from officials.
    However, in the sole-person household, their behaviour will continue unabated, thereby continuing to spread the virus throughout the rest of the community.

    So, while Mottie's concern is real and probable, it is less likely to continue unabated in large, multi-generational households than in single-person households.
    In fact, if we consider the two households, given that sole-person households tend to be more sociable people, interacting within their community, it is a reasonable conclusion that large, multi-generational households are less likely to facilitate the spread of highly infectious viruses, as far as Mottie's point is concerned.
    Of course, single-person households are not limited to young sociable people. Many older people are also in similar type of households, and must venture out to replenish their essential shopping, mixing with the sociable, potentially asymptomatic youngsters, unless they can rely on others, but that will probably increase the need for others to go shopping, etc.
     
  9. JohnD

    JohnD

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    So family size is not the cause. It's youthful irresponsibility.
     
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  11. Bobby Dazzler

    Bobby Dazzler

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    Thank you, Brigadier for elucidating on Mottie's comment.

    There are just a couple of points that add to Mottie's comment, which I'd like to address. I assume that we are still talking about sociable youngsters?

    - goes out. I think we have already addressed this point, and I think we can reasonably assume that it is less likely to occur in large, multi-generational households than in single-person households, for the various reasons offered.

    - ignores social distancing. Are the large, multi-generational families likely to have any influence on this aspect?

    - catches it. Ditto?

    - brings it home to multi - generational home of six others, for example.... If that is so, then undoubtedly one of those family members will be symptomatic and inevitably cause the sociable youngster to isolate, as explained in the response to Mottie. Whereas, in a single-person household, that sociable youngster is free to continue to socialise, infecting the rest of the community, thereby significantly raising the R value.

    Edit: I just realised that I had omitted to address the issue of agencies processing any tacking and tracing, but I think I may have alluded to it, when discussing isolation of whole families. I assume the issues are pretty obvious. It's far easier to process a track and trace operation within a family, than it is within the wider community.
     
    Last edited: 7 Aug 2020
  12. Brigadier

    Brigadier

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    Your error is thinking it is the "sociable youngster".

    As I have posted previously, it is groups of twenty, thirty, even forty - something males who are doing the going out / close mixing.

    They are not youngsters to be grounded.
     
  13. Bobby Dazzler

    Bobby Dazzler

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    OK, so it's the irresponsibility of sociable people, not the size of the family that is the cause, to be as succinct as JohnD?
     
  14. Ihavenojob

    Ihavenojob

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    It depends on how many of the household go out, the older generation and a lot of women don't seem to go out much, so if 2 occupants of property housing a family of 7 or 8 go out, they are no more likely to spread it than a household of 2 people who both go out.
     
  15. JohnD

    JohnD

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    I don't think that's true of Irish families.
     
  16. Ihavenojob

    Ihavenojob

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    Possibly not, but in all my years of going into houses in and around London , I can't recall many large Irish households. There was a vast number of overcrowded HMO's , with most occupants going out to work, these are more likely to spread it than large families of any race.
     
  17. Bobby Dazzler

    Bobby Dazzler

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    OK, in the absence of any further considerations, I think it's premature to consider the myth (of large, multi-generational families facilitating the spread of the virus) 'well and truly busted' (to coin a well-known phrase), it would appear that the myth does not have any rational or logical basis, and is based purely on preconception and urban mythology, and possibly conflation and confusion of other issues.
    In fact, I think I have provided reasons for why the opposite is possibly true.

    I suggest that it is premature to arrive at a final conclusion for obvious reasons, e.g. no peer review, no extensive exploration of the issue, etc.

    In the absence of any positive comments, and in the danger of this discussion deteriorating into rounds of insults or inappropriate comments, I leave it entirely up to the mods to close the discussion as and when they feel is appropriate. (not that I think I could influence that anyway. :))
     
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