Fitness dance classes are yet another place where the new coronavirus appears to spread quickly, according to a new report.
The report found that dozens of men and women in South Korea caught COVID-19 after participating in fitness dance classes at the start of the pandemic.
The researchers traced the cluster back into a workshop that has been held for fitness dance teachers in Cheonan, South Korea, on February 15, according to the report, published May 15 from the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. The workshop included four hours of instruction, the report stated. Although none had symptoms on the afternoon of the workshop, the 27 fitness teachers who participated were eight tested positive for COVID-19.
Not knowing they’d COVID-19, those instructors went on to teach their own physical fitness dance courses.
From March 9, 112, the researchers identified COVID-19 cases connected at 12 different sports facilities in Cheonan.
About half of the cases occurred due to direct transmission from teachers during classes, which lasted an hour and met twice a week. The rest of the instances (not including the teachers themselves) occurred because of the spread from the students to their relatives or coworkers.
The researchers said that the classes involved many individuals engaging in high-intensity exercise in a small space — a relatively perfect environment for COVID-19 disperse.
“The moist, warm atmosphere in a sports center coupled with turbulent airflow generated by intense physical exercise can cause more compact transmission of isolated droplets,” the writers said.
The range of individuals in a course also appeared to play a part in disease spread: Typical-size classes, with up to 22 participants, led to illness spread, while small groups with fewer than five people didn’t disseminate of COVID-19, the report found.
Interestingly, one of the infected instructors also taught yoga and pilates, but none of them became contaminated. The authors hypothesized that the lower intensity of these activities didn’t result in the high-intensity physical fitness courses at the same level of transmission.
In general,” because of the higher possibility of disease through droplets, vigorous exercise in carefully confined spaces must be prevented during the present outbreak,” the authors concluded.