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Social distancing may have to get more rigid to prevent an increase in coronavirus cases

Published Apr 28th, 2020 7:02PM EDT
Social Distancing
Image: Drazen Zigic/Shutterstock

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  • Social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home directives have helped prevent the coronavirus from spreading aggressively.
  • More rigid social distancing measures, however, may be necessary to truly see a permanent decline in the number of coronavirus cases.
  • The total number of coronavirus cases in the United States has now passed 1 million.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

While stay-at-home directives and social distancing guidelines have helped many states prevent the coronavirus from spreading more aggressively, the constant isolation is starting to get to some people. In some states, many people have started congregating in large groups with absolutely no regard for social distancing guidelines. In Chicago alone, this past weekend saw reports of massive house parties and even an outdoor wedding that attracted dozens of guests.

To a certain extent, this is to be expected. Especially with the coronavirus peaking in some large U.S. cities, some people now believe it’s safe to go back outside and hang out with friends. And while doing so may be slightly safer than it was a few weeks ago, the reality is that a second wave of the coronavirus is possible and may prove to be more deadly than the first.

Consequently, medical professionals and researchers are cautioning citizens to maintain social distancing even as the number of coronavirus cases is seemingly on the decline in some areas.

To this point, epidemiologists at the Institute for Disease Modeling (IDM) in Bellevue, Washington recently issued a report indicating that if states start to relax preventative coronavirus measures this week — which many states plan to do — we could quickly see an uptick in the number of coronavirus cases.

“Although we have significantly decreased the spread of COVID-19 through stay-at-home and distancing, the daily number of new cases remains unacceptably high and our community remains vulnerable to a rebound in cases that could overwhelm our healthcare system if we change course too quickly,” Dr. Jeff Duchin of Seattle and King County Public Health said in a press release today.

“Physical distancing by avoiding non-essential contact with others remains our most powerful weapon against this virus, and will likely be needed to some extent until we have effective treatments and a vaccine,” Duchin added.

In light of all this, social distancing guidelines may have to remain in effect for quite some time in order to truly prevent a new wave of coronavirus cases from arising.

“To prevent a resurgence of infection and preventable deaths, social distancing remains necessary to keep the transmission rate low until additional measures, including testing or contact-tracing, can be significantly scaled up,” Dr. Mike Famulare of the IDM said.

A recent IDM report adds that maintaining current social distancing guidelines might only result in a “slow decline” of coronavirus cases. Consequently, the report notes that more stringent directives from states may be necessary to “bring daily case counts down before partial relaxation of social distancing policies can occur.”

The good news is that many areas finally seem to have a handle on keeping coronavirus cases from increasing. The bad news is that if we return to normal activities too soon, we might be right back where we started. Incidentally, the cumulative number of coronavirus cases in the United States passed the 1 million mark earlier today.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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