Coronavirus: Social Distance v. Quarantine

A new report from researchers at the University of Texas at Austin finds that

They found that time between cases in a chain of transmission is less than a week and that more than 10 percent of patients are infected by somebody who has the virus but does not yet have symptoms.(1)

In other words, the disease spreads quickly, often from people who don’t know their sick.

The quarantine of people showing symptoms may reduce but will not stop the spread of the disease. Unless we can test most of the population in the US, and we don’t have enough test kits for that, there is no way to stop the spread of the disease. We simply won’t know who has it and isn’t showing symptoms.

Given that finding, social distance could be a stopper for the disease. Quarantines may reduce the rate of infection (flatten the curve) but will not stop the disease.

Sources: Zhanwei Du, Xiaoke Xu, Ye Wu, Lin Wang, Benjamin J. Cowling, Lauren Ancel Meyers. Serial Interval of COVID-19 from Publicly Reported Confirmed Cases. Emerging Infectious Diseases, April 2020; DOI: 10.3201/eid2606.200357

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