Since we don't yet have a vaccine for the coronavirus, everyone around the world should be taking social distancing very seriously, as it is clearly impacting the rate of which the coronavirus spreads. But how long do we have to socially distance?
The WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control has said that social distancing guidelines are paramount in combating the spread of the coronavirus. Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health looked at the impacts of social distancing and have projected how long we are going to have to socially distance ourselves to ensure that hospitals have enough capacity for future COVID-19 patients. The Harvard researchers estimated that we would have to likely socially distance ourselves "on-and-off" into "2022".
Even though social distancing guidelines are projected to stick around for the foreseeable future, that doesn't mean they are going to be as strict as what they are now. Marc Lipsitch, professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics and co-senior author of the study, said: "I think social distancing interventions of some sort are going to have to continue, hopefully, lightened and in conjunction with other interventions". Social distancing guidelines could be eased if a COVID-19 treatment became widely available, if hospitals increased ICU bed capacity, or if a vaccine is developed.
If you are interested in reading more about this, check out the study here.
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