Why Social distancing may need to continue on and off until 2022 – Harvard study

American researchers have warned of a surge of reinfections if social distance measures are lifted permanently before 2022 if there is no discovery of vaccines as little is known about the virus.

Researchers at Harvard University In an article published yesterday in the journal Science, researchers claimed relaxing social distancing measures simultaneously could result in delaying the epidemic’s peak and making it more severe.

Much is still not known about the virus, which has affected every continent except Antarctica with more than two million cases reported around the world.

The group of Harvard disease researchers said: “Intermittent distancing may be required into 2022 unless critical care capacity is increased substantially or a treatment or vaccine becomes available.”

The duration of human immunity will determine how long coronavirus persists in people after the initial pandemic. Fears of reinfection are growing in South Korea after 124 people tested positive for the virus for a second time.

One-time social distancing can suppress critical cases to protect hospital capacity but the study says infections will rise again once such measures are lifted.

This could then overwhelm hospitals, which is why social distancing may have to continue on and off into 2022.

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