Trends in Preventive Measures: An Update on Ancestry’s COVID-19 Research Study – November 12, 2020

I checked – Trends in Preventive Measures: An Update on Ancestry’s COVID-19 Research Study – November 12, 2020:’s a much longer article, but the key takeaways were wearing masks works and maintaining social distancing are things to do. There are a number of charts included in the article. In addition, wearing masks helps those who wear them too. 


By Kristin Rand, PhD MPH Genetic Epidemiologist, AncestryDNA  | NOV 12, 2020

As we move through another season of the global pandemic, public health research  continues to deepen our understanding of the impact personal protective measures can have on COVID-19 susceptibility and severity. Thanks to more than 750,000 Ancestry customers who volunteered to participate in Ancestry’s COVID-19 Research Study, we are now able to contribute additional insights to help advance this evolving body of knowledge. The CDC recommends using preventive measures to protect ourselves and others from infection. But what about affecting our chances of severe disease? Here we suggest that the use of preventive measures is associated with reduced severity of COVID-19 infection. This opens the important possibility that masks and physical distancing may not only reduce our chances of getting infected but also reduce our chances of a severe infection. 

Wearing Masks Indoors & Reduced COVID-19 Hospitalizations

In April 2020, we launched the AncestryDNA COVID-19 Research Study to look for both genetic and non-genetic clues on how individuals respond to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. With this study we are already learning new information about both susceptibility (why some people are more likely to be infected) and severity (why some people suffer severely and others only mildly) of the disease. Exploring the self-reported de-identified survey responses provided by Ancestry customers from all 50 states in both urban and rural areas, we are also learning more about personal choices around the use of masks and physical distancing. We hope these insights will contribute to the body of knowledge around preventive measures and will be validated by other researchers with clinical information.

We observed that those infected with severe COVID-19, determined by being hospitalized or becoming a critical case, were less likely to report having worn a mask inside within seven days prior to their illness onset, compared to those who weren’t hospitalized  (Figure 1). This finding, based on an investigation in over 3,000 people with symptomatic COVID-19, holds true even after accounting for differences in age, biological sex, and comorbidities. This trend, that preventive measures are associated with a less severe outcome, is also observed for those who report having worn masks outside and practiced physical distancing.


About Wichita Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. I suffer Bipolar I, ultra-ultra rapid cycling, mixed episodes. Blog on a variety of topics - genealogy, DNA, mental health, among others. Let's
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