Behavioral Factors Associated With Sars-Cov-2 Infection in Japan
The relative burden of COVID-19 has been less severe in Japan. One reason for this may be the uniquely strict restrictions imposed upon bars/restaurants. To assess if this approach was appropriately targeting high-risk individuals, this study examined behavioral factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection in the community.
This multicenter case-control study involved individuals receiving SARS-CoV-2 testing in June-August 2021. Behavioral exposures in the past 2 weeks were collected via questionnaire. SARS-CoV-2 PCR-positive individuals were cases, while PCR-negative individuals were controls.
The analysis included 778 individuals (266 [34.2%] positives; median age [interquartile range] 33 [27-43] years). Attending three or more social gatherings was associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 2.00 [95% CI 1.31-3.05]). Attending gatherings with alcohol (aOR 2.29 [1.53-3.42]), at bars/restaurants (aOR 1.55 [1.04-2.30]), outdoors/at parks (aOR 2.87 [1.01-8.13]), at night (aOR 2.07 [1.40-3.04]), five or more people (aOR 1.81 [1.00-3.30]), 2 hours or longer (aOR 1.76 [1.14-2.71]), not wearing a mask during gatherings (aOR 4.18 [2.29-7.64]), and cloth mask use (aOR 1.77 [1.11-2.83]) were associated with infection. Going to karaoke (aOR 2.53 [1.25-5.09]) and to a gym (aOR 1.87 [1.11-3.16]) were also associated with infection. Factors not associated with infection included visiting a cafe with others, ordering takeout, using food delivery services, eating out by oneself, and work/school/travel-related exposures including teleworking.
This study identified multiple behavioral factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection, many of which were in line with the policy/risk communication implemented in Japan. Rapid assessment of risk factors can inform decision-making.