In line with the Federal Government of Nigeria’s directive for everyone to stay indoors, a study from the University of Sydney, Australia, has revealed that social distancing must be adopted by at least 80 per cent of every population to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Social distancing in public means people should stay at home unless is absolutely necessary; keep 1.5 metres away from others; avoid physical contact, and keep distance.
The study noted that if social distancing measures were adopted by at least 80 per cent of the population in the world, we could expect to see a control of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in just over three months, new research by the University of Sydney has found.
Led by Complex Systems academic and pandemic modeling expert, Professor Mikhail Prokopenko, the study also revealed that social distancing would be an unproductive measure if adopted by less than 70 per cent of the population in the world.
“If we want to control the spread of COVID-19—rather than letting the disease control us—at least eighty per cent of the population must comply with strict social distancing measures for at least four months,” said Professor Mikhail Prokopenko.
“However, if ninety per cent of the population complies, then the duration could be as short as thirteen to fourteen weeks—meaning if we began tomorrow, we could expect a control of COVID-19 by July,” he said.
“Conversely, if less than seventy per cent of the population is adopting social distancing measures, we cannot suppress the spread of the pandemic and any social distancing could be a fruitless effort,” he said.
“There is a clear trade off—stricter measures imposed earlier would reduce how long our lives are impacted by this disease. On the contrary, laxer protocols could mean a longer, more drawn out and ineffective struggle against COVID-19,” he said.
Study suggests tough measures early on
The research also found that for every day the stricter social distancing measures are delayed, society would need to endure several more days under a longer suppression policy.
“There’s good reason for imposing tough measures early on. The longer we delay the peak, the more time our healthcare system has to prepare for it by accessing more resources such as ICU beds, ventilators, antivirals and trained health workers,” said Professor Prokopenko.
The researchers also found that while school closures had the potential to compensate for ten percent of a lack of social distancing compliance, they only delayed the peak of the pandemic by two weeks.
They also discovered that school closures did not significantly reduce new cases for older adults, but slightly increased the fraction of new cases in children around the peak of the pandemic in some countries.
In this scenario, 80 per cent social distancing could either mean—any person in one household could go out once in five days, or, one member per family of five could go out daily, but the other four stay at home all the time.