A deserted street in London, the UK under strict restriction amid COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic. Photo image: the guardian.com
Promoting stay-at-home exercise and other forms of reducing physical contact
It is extremely important we allay the negative impact and effect of this first coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic through stay-at-home exercise and avoiding physical contact with one another despite the severity of the disease.
This strategy will not only reduce the number of COVID-19 (coronavirus) infection cases and the speed at which they occur but will prevent overpowering healthcare systems.
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Strict restrictions (broad social distancing, closure of schools and stay-at-home exercise) as well as contact tracing, expanded testing and isolation exercises are slowing it down but the impact and undesirable effects of doing that everywhere could be even worse than the disease itself. Strict restrictions are not expected to extend beyond five months because such radical changes to human lifestyle are difficult to sustain
Social distancing, closure of schools and stay-at-home exercise are successfully reducing infection cases, suppressing the pandemic (relieving strain on hospitals) and preventing deaths but the negative impact and effects are that it is delaying herd immunity.
Implementing these strategies can be compared to holding back the second wave of infections and cutting strict restriction short would result in a resurgence of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. No one is sure if strict isolation would be enforced for months.
Expanding testing infrastructure and bolstering health care systems while strict restriction prevails
A substitute for social distancing is carrying out extensive testing. Taiwan and South Korea were able to use extensive testing and case isolation, contact tracing in addition to social distancing to contain the virus locally and reduce further spread. South Korea, precisely, reported a reduction in new infection cases from 909 on 29th February to 76 on 24th March.
As social distancing, closure of schools and stay-at-home exercise continues to hold off further spread of the virus, each affected nation can quickly expand its testing infrastructures and bolster its health care systems.
The transmission of the virus from an infected person is unknown to him when he is yet to develop the symptoms. So, testing and quarantining potential contacts before they develop symptoms is very important to dampening the endemic.
Virus infection testing allows public health officials to identify new cases and isolate them while tracing and testing their contacts as quickly as possible for any possible infection.
The targeted approach of expanded testing and isolation and tracing a contact for testing after a positive case is a huge task and may elude hard-hit underdeveloped countries as its process effectiveness depends on the aid of cell phone tracking data technology.
This targeted approach would slow or stop the virus outbreak until a herd immunity vaccine is available.
Support should be offered to countries that are experiencing widespread of the virus across the cities and are struggling with ramping up extensive testing.