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A single period of isolation will not be enough, Harvard suggests social distancing until 2022

April 16, 2020

Scientists from Harvard University noted that the virus will become seasonal, with higher transmission rates in the cold months.

3 min read

The opinions expressed by collaborators are personal.

A single period of isolation will not be enough, Harvard suggests   social distancing   until 2022A single period of isolation will not be enough, Harvard suggests social distancing until 2022

COVID-19 will become seasonal , with higher transmission rates in the cold months, scientists at Harvard University warned in a study published on the website of the journal Sciencie. The specialists modeled the trajectory of the virus pandemic by computer and warned that “a single isolation will not stop it.”

The research was carried out by scientists from the Department of Epidemiology and Immunology and Infectious Diseases of the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health , where the common cold and close genetic cousins ​​of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, were analyzed. , to model how it could behave in the coming months.

The scientists noted that repeated periods of social distancing may be necessary to contribute to the critical care capabilities of the United States' health services, where 25,922 people have died from the virus.

Research led by Stephen Kissler noted that in each modeled scenario, they found that warm weather did not stop transmission. Therefore, isolation measures may be relaxed until a vaccine is available; However, they pointed out that too much social distancing could be a negative thing , since it would prevent the population from getting infected and thus generating immunity.

A year of immunity?

Although they recognized that there is no reliable evidence to indicate how strong the immunity of a person who has already been infected, or how long it lasts, they noted that various studies indicate that immunity to this new strain of coronavirus “confers certain immunity” for up to a year, approximately.

Harvard researchers said that immunity was unlikely to be strong enough and to last long enough for Covid-19 to die out after its first global wave , as was the case with the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak.

Ashish Jha, KT Li, Professor of Global Health, said that those who see the commercial interests of the United States and the interests of public health as confronted with each other are wrong. He assured that the two need each other to manage a smooth transition to whatever the new normal is.

It should not be seen as a situation in which society quickly reopens to save the economy or delays to save health. Reopening too soon would trigger a new wave of disease that not only sickens many people, but also scares those who are not sick and stay home, generating little economic boost. Instead, he said, business and public health experts must work together to develop, manufacture, and distribute tests, treatments, vaccines and equipment that can control the outbreak and reopen the economy safely.

“There is a lot we can do to make the opening a reality, but it will not be 'normal' again until we have a vaccine, which I think will be in 12 to 18 months,” Jha said.

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