Scientists warn we may need to live with social distancing for a year or more
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Life around the world is changing dramatically as we practise social distancing, staying away from our friends and avoiding going to our favourite places, or even being unable to work. We already long for this ‘lockdown’ period to end.
While some people view the guidelines as being too harsh, they are necessary as what we are dealing with is an emerging and lethal infectious diseases outbreak. The measures are done taking into account the near future, even if we cannot see it today.
Top experts say the virus is going to be circulating for a year or two and can keep infecting people, causing outbreaks until there is a vaccine or treatment to stop it. If we drop the unpleasant and strict measures, the virus outbreak can know no boundaries or limits of infections. It won’t simply go away in two weeks.
Apart from vaccination and treatment medicines, experts also talk of herd immunity, where enough people contract the virus, and become immune to it, slowing the spread. This approach is not guaranteed and there is lack of information on how this new virus may infect or later reinfect the population. It also risks millions of people being infected and dying.
..for the ongoing measure of social distancing:
Mitigation has its risks, and the scenario of ‘Suppression’ is the only one that can save more lives and prevent overburdening of hospitals, while having huge costs to our society, economy and personal well-being.
The new virus is extremely contagious, with each person infecting 2.5 others on average, and no human is immune to it. A social distancing measure spanning months would be inevitable. Public health authorities need to find some balance so that life becomes manageable during this lockdown. As there are a lot of unknowns about the virus, we cannot take a chance.
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During this pandemic, cities around the US ...
One of the goals of social distancing is to delay the spread of the virus, so it reaches people more slowly.
The idea is to lengthen the time period over which the virus travels through a population and push the peak number of cases back so it appears later. With a lower rate of spreading, less infected people will need urgent care and resources at any given time.
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