Research paper claims social distancing needed for ’18 months or more’

Mar 18, 2020, 6:17 AM | Updated: 7:34 am
coronavirus, economy, social distancing, Seattle, small business...
In this March 6, 2020 photo, the area near Pike Place Fish Market at the Pike Place Market in Seattle is nearly devoid of root traffic and crowds at the close of the day. The market, which is popular with tourists and locals alike, has seen crowds thin as some workers stay home and work remotely, and some tourists cancel trips over worry about COVID-19. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

A paper released by Imperial College posits that in order to truly mitigate the risk of coronavirus and its ongoing spread, social distancing measures would need to be in place “until a vaccine becomes available (potentially 18 months or more).”

State Superintendent says school closures likely to fall and beyond

In a scenario where cases start to dip and suppression measures are relaxed before a vaccine is produced, the paper claims that “transmission will quickly rebound.”

That timeline is echoed in the U.S. government’s own 100-page plan for the pandemic, which spans 18 months, and warns that the outbreak could come in “multiple waves.”

The Imperial College paper labels the coronavirus outbreak as the most serious health threat posed by a respiratory virus since the 1918 Spanish Flu.

“The global impact of COVID-19 has been profound,” it notes.

It goes on to recommend that in both the United Kingdom and the U.S., limiting the spread of coronavirus will “minimally require a combination of social distancing of the entire population, home isolation of cases and household quarantine of family members.”

It details two possible strategies: Mitigation (lighter measures that focus on slowing the spread of coronavirus) and suppression (more extreme measures designed to reverse the spread and “maintain the situation indefinitely”).

Graphs: Coronavirus cases across the US and Worldwide

It found that “optimal mitigation strategies” could reduce the peak demand on health care services by two-thirds and cut deaths in half. Even so, it “would still likely result in hundreds of thousands of deaths,” while health services — even with reduced demand — would still be “overwhelmed many times over.”

That leaves ongoing, consistent suppression measures akin to what we’re seeing in Washington state as “the preferred policy option.” In order to avoid having the virus rebound and spread again, those measures would have to be in place until a vaccine can be distributed.

Local News

retail theft...
L.B. Gilbert

Retail theft sting operation leads to 23 arrests in Gig Harbor

A two-day retail theft sting operation in Gig Harbor ended with 23 people in handcuffs last week after an emphasis patrol.
12 hours ago
(Photo from KIRO 7)...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Cyclist makes, posts ‘do not block’ bike lane signs on Capitol Hill

A Seattle bike commuter fed up with people parking in bike lanes on Capitol Hill took matters into his own hands.
12 hours ago
L.B. Gilbert

Seattle Police find dead body by NB I-5 off-ramp, delays traffic

KIRO Newsradio's Sam Campbell says people were cleaning trash near the off-ramp when they found a dead body.
12 hours ago
L.B. Gilbert

Judge: BNSF railroad violated Swinomish Tribe agreement after derailment

A District Court judge in Seattle ruled that Burlington Northern Santa Fe violated an agreement with the Swinomish Tribe.
12 hours ago
Cash business...
Nicole Jennings

King County Councilmember wants to require businesses to accept cash

Many businesses have switched to taking cards only, but a King County Council measure would require some businesses to accept cash payments.
12 hours ago
Sam Campbell

Crash in Georgetown involving SPD cruisers during stolen car recovery

Seattle Police are investigating a collision involving two patrol vehicles in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle.
12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Research paper claims social distancing needed for ’18 months or more’