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 Is Social Distancing Helpful in Coronavirus Pandemic?

For the last many weeks, most of the countries are experiencing a complete lockdown, advising its citizens to stay at home maintaining a social distancing. It is a preventive measure to control the spread of coronavirus, but is it actually helping?

Despite the fact that several governments have maintained this lockdown for at least two weeks, still, there are new coronavirus cases reporting every day. How is this social distancing working if everyone is at home but new cases are diagnosed every day? When would we be able to enjoy a normal life?

David Hutton teaches health management and policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Also, he is a certified professional in the mathematical modeling of diseases and pandemic planning. He says that everyone should learn from the neighboring countries and find new ways of making this social distancing effective.

Other countries especially those which are badly hit by coronavirus such as China, have followed a rather restrictive social distancing practice. However, the cases of coronavirus are not slowing down despite this measure. This is frightening and puzzling at a time because it seems like they are doing the right thing by staying indoors for weeks, yet coronavirus cases are now reducing. Not just in China, it is happening all around the world. So is this social distancing actually helping?

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But the good thing is that two weeks of social distancing and self-isolation has somehow reduced the number of new cases in most of the countries. The coronavirus infection is no more at a peak, in fact, it is somewhat stable now. The medical experts believe soon it would be declining, reducing the new cases to zero.

Not many people know but there is an actual epidemiological reason to explain and verify this. In every patient, it takes at least one week to show the symptoms but many other days when this suspected patient goes to the hospital. Add a few days more when they get their coronavirus diagnostic test done and receive the results. This increases a natural delay, called as “lag” in virology.

This time is sufficient for the infection to reduce its severity and mostly when the person is diagnosed with the infection, he is already at the lag phase. Hence there are higher chances of his recovery. However, the recovery and severity of infection also depend upon other factors such as immunity and health status of a person during this infection period.

It explains that the first few weeks of social distancing might not show anything extraordinary. But eventually, they will cause a significant drop in coronavirus cases.

Also read- UC Berkeley Lab Has Been Converted To COVID-19 Test Processing Center

Going to the next question; when would we be able to live a normal life, social distancing is the key factor here. If this preventive strategy gives effective results -which it would surely do- the disease spread would be controlled and soon the rise in corona positive cases would decline. Within the next few weeks, there would be only a few people suffering from coronavirus and eventually, they would be treated.

In a way, social distancing is an extremely effective strategy that would reduce the number of infected people by the time. However, it also suggests to continue practicing social distancing for a few more weeks or else there is no way to determine when would this end.

So medical experts suggest that once this first round of social distancing is completed, only then we would be able to predict a time for complete infection eradiation. But they are hopeful that social distancing would be a good and effective strategy to prevent the viral spread, thus reducing the time when we all can get back to a normal life.

Areeba Hussain

The author is a fulltime medical and healthcare writer. She graduated in Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. Her areas of prime interest are medicine, medical technology, disease awareness, and research analysis. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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