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Scientists warn we may need to live with social distancing for a year or more

Herd Immunity

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.

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Scientists warn we may need to live with social distancing for a year or more

Scientists warn we may need to live with social distancing for a year or more

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2020/3/17/21181694/coronavirus-covid-19-lockdowns-end-how-long-months-years

vox.com

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Key Ideas

The State Of The Virus

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.

Uncertain Time Frame

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.

Guidelines by WHO

  • Wash your hands regularly, and for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then dispose of it properly.
  • Clean and disinfect doors, handles and objects that are touched all the time.
  • Contact a health professional if you have symptoms; fever and a dry cough are most common.
  • DON’T touch your face.
  • DON’T go out of your home.

Herd Immunity

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.

Two Scenarios

..for the ongoing measure of social distancing:

  • Mitigation: Moderate clampdown, slowing the epidemic spread.
  • Suppression: Harsh clampdown, reversing the epidemic spread.

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.

Invisible Death

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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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Outbreak terms

  • Endemic is a disease that regularly infects humans, like the flu.
  • Pandemic is a worldwide spread of a new disease. 
  • Epidemic

Public health measures

  • Social distancing is a slew of tactics meant to keep people at a six feet distance from each other to keep droplets from an infected person's nose or mouth from landing on another person.
  • Quarantine is restricting the movement of, or isolating, people who might have been exposed to an infection but who aren't sick.
  • Isolation is separating people with confirmed or probable infections from other healthy people.
  • Lockdown is a term used by public health officials or lawyers to refer to anything from mandatory geographic quarantine to non-mandatory recommendations to shelter in place, to anything in between.
  • Cordon sanitaire is the restriction of movement in and out of a region or city.
  • Shelter in place is an order requesting people to stay at home, except for trips to the grocery store, pharmacies, and other essential errands.

Medical equipment

  • A ventilator is a machine that assists a patient in breathing when they have trouble breathing on their own.
  • PPE (Personal protective equipment), such as masks, gloves, face shields, and other gear that keeps health care workers from catching an infection.
  • A respirator is a face mask that seals around the mouth and filters out particles from the air before they are breathed in.
  • Surgical mask or face mask are loose-fitting masks that don't filter out all the particles but stop a wearer from spreading droplets of contagion when they sneeze or cough.

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A lesson from history

Near the end of World War One, the Spanish flu infected over a quarter of the world's population and claimed between 50 and 100 million lives.

During this pandemic, cities around the US ...

The spread of the new virus

  • If you are infected and continue to socialize as normal, you may pass the virus on to between two and three friends or family members, who could then infect a further 2 - 3 people. In one month, this can lead to 244 other cases, and in two months, it can rise to 59,604
  • A silent transmission - people who have been infected, but don't show any symptoms - can occur in up to 10% of cases. These people may not realize that they need to self-isolate.
  • There is evidence that staying at home and maintaining a safe distance from others can slow the spread.

The aim of social distancing

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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A History Of Pandemics

  • A Pandemic is defined as the proliferation of a disease over the whole country or the entire world.
  • Diseases and illnesses have troubled humanity since the earliest days, but ...

Quarantined

  • The original use of the word Quarantine was the act of anchoring a ship arrived in Venice, Italy, for 40 days before landing.
  • Infectiousness of any disease is measured by the reproduction number (R0, or R naught). For example, Smallpox has an R0 of 6 whereas Measles has an R0 of 16. 
  • Vaccination, if available, and herd immunity can curb the spread of disease.
  • Big cities, with exploding population and traffic, can lead to the rapid spread of any infectious disease.