Some Harvard researchers say that additional social distancing measures may be needed — for years, into 2022 — in order to stop COVID-19 from continuing to surge.
What are the details?
A group of Harvard disease researchers said that intermittent social distancing — through 2022 — should help stop continual resurgence of COVID-19.
The researchers, who penned an article published in Science, said that stopping social distancing measures and resuming life as normal will only backfire and result in further infection spread.
The scientists added that further infections could possibly be more severe.
According to Bloomberg, researchers utilized computer simulations in determining how the ongoing pandemic could potentially play out.
"One possibility is that strict social distancing followed by intensive public-health detective work could chase down and eradicate the virus," the outlet reported. "[W]ith confirmed cases of the new pathogen approaching 2 million globally, that outcome is seen as increasingly unlikely."
Researchers added that the virus is likely to spread much like the influenza virus, and become a seasonal disease.
"In one [research] model, 20 weeks of measures to limit spread were followed by an epidemic peak that was as great as an uncontrolled spread," Business Insider wrote.
Researchers added that social distancing was "so effective that virtually no population immunity was built," and insisted that the potential seasonality of the virus would stretch health care to its breaking point on an annual basis.
"To avoid such outcomes," the outlet added, "on-and-off social distancing measures might be needed until 2022, unless hospital capacity is increased, or effective vaccines or treatments are developed."
Over the weekend, one of Britain's top scientists said that she is 80% confident that a vaccine for COVID-19 could be ready by September.
Scientist Sarah Gilbert of Oxford University said there is a "high chance" that the vaccine — which is set for human trials by the end of April — will work.
"I think there's a high chance that it will work based on other things that we have done with this type of vaccine," she said. "It's not just a hunch and as every week goes by we have more data to look at. I would go for 80%, that's my personal view."
But Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the health experts on the White House coronavirus task force, has said that it could be 12-18 months before a successful vaccine could be developed.