To stop the spread of CoVID-19 duringmany countries around the world are taking various measures. They range from the prohibition of mass events, the closure of entertainment centers, bars and restaurants, to the closure of schools and, in some places, completely self-isolation - when people are forced to stay out of the house for a long time. The situation is aggravated by a feeling of uncertainty - today no one knows when the pandemic will end and what long-term consequences it may lead to. To predict the future course of events, scientists from Harvard University conducted a study, the results of which say that in 2020, in some countries of the world, social distance measures can be applied as necessary. However, this will not happen if a vaccine or an effective medicine for the treatment of CoVID-19 is invented. So how long will we stay at home?
How to deal with the pandemic of the new coronavirus?
Social distance - This is a set of sanitary and epidemiological actions, which is aimed at slowing down or stopping the spread of an infectious disease.
Although self-isolation is a formsocial distance, between them there is an important difference. Self-isolation and quarantine are aimed at preventing the transmission of the virus to people who are infected or are known to have been in contact with infected people. And social distancing is a broader measure aimed at preventing the disease from spreading. And we may have to keep our distance from others for some time. The fact is that at the moment, scientists do not know either the timing of the production of a safe and effective vaccine, or whether the new drug will work to eliminate CoVID-19.
Quarantine - This is a set of anti-epidemic regulatory measures aimed at limiting contacts between people or infected animals, goods, vehicles, territory, district, etc.
The greatest fears of epidemiologists around the worldIt is due to the fact that social distance can hold back the peak of coronavirus spread until the end of the year, but then a second wave may follow, as was the case during the Spanish flu pandemic. For other important lessons that can be learned from the 1918 pandemic, read the article by Daria Yeletskaya. But why has social distancing become such an important strategy in the fight against the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic?
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It is believed that every person infectedCoVID-19 can infect an average of 2-3 people in the early stages of an outbreak. This contagion is measured by epidemiologists using the so-called “contagion coefficient” R0. For comparison, the R0 of the influenza virus, depending on the strain, varies from 1.06 to 3.4. According to BBC Future, according to the results of another study, R0 of Spanish flu is approximately 1.8. And the R0 of rhinovirus, which causes a common cold, is 1.2 - 1.83. According to most estimates of the propagation rate of SARS-CoV-2, R0 varies from 1.4 to 3.9.
Incubation period - time between infection and onset of symptoms -is about five days, although according to studies in China, symptoms may take up to 14 days or more. If you are infected and lead a normal life, then you are most likely to pass the virus to two or three friends or family members, who can then infect another 2-3 people. So within one month, one case of CoVID-19 infection can lead to 244 others. And after two months, this figure will soar to 59,604. It was found that the time between CoVID-19 infection and the onset of symptoms averages about five days.
Why is social distance effective?
However, the virus can also spread frominfected people who do not show symptoms. Thus, the results of another study showed that asymptomatic transmission of the virus can occur in 10% of cases. According to experts, 1% to 3% of people infected with the new coronavirus will not show symptoms. And if such people knew about their diagnosis and followed the rules of social distance, they would have prevented the spread of CoVID-19.
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One of the main goals of social distance- This is a delay in the spread of the virus so that people get sick more slowly. The idea is to lengthen the period of time during which the virus passes through the population and to move the peak of incidence so that it occurs at a later time. But what happens in real life?
So far, different countries take different approaches tocontainment of coronavirus, scientists at Imperial College London published the results of computer simulation, according to which, after removal of quarantine measures, the second wave of CoVID-19 is almost inevitable.
This means that with the most optimisticthe development of events - namely, the development and mass production of a vaccine for 12-18 months, we will have to observe the method of social distance in one form or another. I understand that this is not the most happy news, but the main thing is that in the current conditions we can restrain the spread of CoVID-19 and reduce the burden on the healthcare system. This will help save many lives. Let's not forget that someday the pandemic will end and we will do our best for this.