BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Strict social distancing is working, according to a new study from Johns Hopkins.

Researchers randomly surveyed more than 1,000 people from across Maryland, asking about their social distancing practices and how often they head out of the house.

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They found spending more time in public places was strongly associated with getting COVID-19, compared to those who practiced strict outdoor social distancing.

“We actually had individually reported data,” Sunil Solomon, of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, said. “So we could actually look at the practice of social distancing, different population subgroups.”

From there, researchers were able to link certain behavioral practices with the history of testing positive for COVID-19.

“It really does link the frequency ability,” Solomon said. “So if you went to a grocery store once, versus if you went to a grocery store seven or more times, there definitely was a difference in your risk of exposure.”

Results from the study show those who practice strict outdoor social distancing have a 1/10 likelihood of ever contracting the virus, while those who spent more time inside public venues or used public transportation were more than four times likely to contract the virus.

“Because these are two situations where it may be hard to socially distance,” Solomon said.

81 percent of people surveyed who were 65 and older reported they always practice social distancing, while only 58 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 24 reported they always practice social distancing.

With the new school year underway, researchers at Johns Hopkins are planning to run another study starting September 15.

The study will look at how many people are sending students back to school, how big are these class sizes and how is that going to affect transmission.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

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