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COVID-19 Study of Households


  • CDC needed data on how COVID-19 is transmitted among persons who live in the same household.
  • Abt adapted flu pandemic studies to assess COVID-19’s epidemiological/ clinical characteristics.
  • Results informed public health guidance and decision-making.
The Challenge

From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, CDC needed data on how common COVID-19 was out in the community and how the virus transmits among members of the same household, even among asymptomatic individuals. CDC also examined differences in disease severity, identifying individuals with mild and severe symptoms, including hospitalization, who live in the same household. Household studies such as C-HEaRT enabled a better understanding of the true burden of the disease and other characteristics of the illness.

The Approach

C-HEaRT adapted methodologies from existing influenza pandemic preparedness studies to assess epidemiological and clinical characteristics of COVID-19. They included incidence, risk of transmission and infection, illness progression, clinical characteristics of severity, modifying behaviors, serum biomarkers, and other characteristics. Abt confirmed receipt of COVID-19 vaccine and collected post-vaccination sera from household members.

In addition to C-HEaRT, Abt led data management-related activities for its sister study, SARS-CoV-2 Epidemiology And Response in Children (SEARCh), which was led by researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

The Results

The findings supported CDC’s role during a pandemic for monitoring pandemic-related illness, describing the epidemiology of pandemic virus infection and the burden of disease, and monitoring and evaluating the use of public health interventions, antiviral treatment, and vaccine effectiveness. 


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