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Intermittent social distancing could last until 2022, according to a new study

Published on 16/04/20 at 10:35am
Photo by SISTEMA 12

Social distancing that has been put in place to stem the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus could be implemented up until 2022, according to new research.

The report, published in Science, stated that based on the research team’s model “prolonged or intermittent social distancing may be necessary into 2022.” It also says that additional steps to combat the virus would include “expanded critical care capacity and an effective therapeutic” and this would improve the success of intermittent distancing and increase the speed of people developing herd immunity.

It also added that: “The required intensity, duration, and urgency of these responses will depend both on how the initial pandemic wave unfolds and on the subsequent transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2.”

Social distancing measures have been implemented in most countries around the word who are suffering from COVID-19 outbreaks. There are some differences between the response, with China taking more strict measures with Britain taking a slightly more relaxed approach, allowing people to go out for exercise once a day including with their whole household.

The study advises governments carry out a long term intermittent approach, as too much social distancing could mean that no population immunity is built. The authors acknowledge that a major drawback in their model is how little is known about how a person builds immunity to the virus and how long it lasts.

The team believes that coronavirus will not disappear, and it is highly unlikely that a person’s immunity will be strong enough to last until the virus's initial wave comes to a close.

Conor Kavanagh

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