Government implementations and social distancing are required strategies for controlling the COVID-19 outbreak.
The COVID-19 outbreak is a developing pandemic and public health concern. The concern for viral outbreaks arises from the virus’s characteristics, disease severity, and available prevention and treatment modalities. Presently, global and national efforts have been focused on controlling the COVID-19 outbreak by reducing its spread.
A recent commentary, published in The Lancet, addressed how a country can influence the spread of COVID-19. The commentary reported on current known and unknown information about COVID-19, as well as the importance of government prevention strategies and social distancing.
Unknown information about COVID-19:
- Case fatality rates to define the infected.
- Number of those infected, but without symptoms.
- Time it takes for symptoms to show in infected.
- Time it takes for an infected person to become infectious to others.
- Duration of infectious period.
Government prevention strategies to quickly reduce COVID-19 spread:
- Temporarily prohibit mass gatherings and large events.
- Temporarily close and quarantine COVID-19 exposed work buildings.
- Mandate temporary holiday for educational institutions.
Social distancing is a voluntary, individual behavior that involves early self-isolation, proactively seek medical advice and avoid large crowds. Social distancing has been shown to slow virus spreading and reduce the rate of new infections. However, the author, Professor Heesterbeek stated, “Social distancing measures are societally and economically disruptive and a balance has to be sought in how long they can be held in place.”
The researchers sought further data collection and analysis to assess the impacts of these prevention strategies. Government implementations and social distancing play key roles in managing any virus outbreak. Governments were recommended to prioritize contact tracing to trace the early spread of the disease. The researchers also proposed, “Other priorities include shortening the time from symptom onset to isolation, supporting home treatment and diagnosis, and developing strategies to deal with the economic consequences of extended absence from work.”
Written by Manuel Bangsil, PharmD, MBA, BCMAS
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- Canada, P. (2020). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update – Canada.ca. Retrieved 10 March 2020, from https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html#a1
- Individual response to COVID-19 ‘as important’ as government action. (2020). Retrieved 10 March 2020, from https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-03/uoo-irt030620.php
- Anderson, R., Heesterbeek, H., Klinkenberg, D., & Hollingsworth, T. (2020). How will country-based mitigation measures influence the course of the COVID-19 epidemic?. The Lancet. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(20)30567-5
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