The world awaits the coronavirus vaccine to ease lockdown and social distancing. Photo credit. www.who.int
If no COVID-19 vaccine is found, countries should continue to implement lockdown and physical social distancing disallow people to go about their normal businesses, otherwise, there would likely be a wave of new infections. Lockdown is in the form of strict restrictions (broad physical and social distancing, schools closure and stay-at-home exercise).
This is according to a new study based on the experience of the coronavirus outbreak in China.
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Lockdown and physical and social distancing control measures applied in many affected countries seemed to have reduced the rate of infections to very low levels.
If schools, businesses, and factory operations progressively resume too quickly, relaxing lockdown and reducing social distancing, particularly given the increased risk of imported cases from overseas even as coronavirus spread continues globally without a herd (mass) immunity against COVID-19, infection cases could easily resurge. That is, the shrinking reproductive number – the average number of people that one person with COVID-19 will infect will push up.
Until a reliable coronavirus vaccine is found and becomes widely distributed, using control measures like public awareness, schools closure, stay-at-home exercise, physical and social distancing and behavioural change that have cripples economic activities and keeping the reproductive number down to the barest minimum (below one) is still regarded as the best health strategy.
The effect of the prolonged lockdown and physical and social distancing would struggle to meet the services for the sudden rise in demand in most prosperous and well-resourced megacities of the world like New York, London, Paris, Beijing, among others.
Implementing tougher measures to cut down the COVID-19 infection rate would be less effective if the second wave of infection is allowed to resurge once again which would possible result in slightly higher health and economic loss.