After the first case of the new coronavirus was recorded in the United States, reports indicated that the disease was spreading slowly, but after two months the spread accelerated, which raised concerns of experts who expected that the continued doubling of the number of infected people will lead to about one hundred million infections in the United States by next May. , Based on arithmetic, not prophecies.
But there is a possibility that the spread of the virus may slow, as public health professionals point out, if people’s social practices change and they avoid public spaces and limit their movement in general.
Without this and any other measures to slow it down, the virus will continue to spread steadily for several months.
To understand why, it is useful to simulate the spread of a hypothetical disease in a population.
This “hypothetical” disease spreads more easily than Covid 19, and the more a healthy person calls a sick person, the healthy person also becomes ill.
If the population is only five people, it won’t take long for everyone to get sick.
And of course in real life, people eventually recover. A person who is recovering from illness cannot transmit it again to a healthy person, nor to get sick again after contacting a sick person.
But let us assume that the placebo is spreading in a city of 200 people. When everyone moves randomly, each patient will strike a healthy person, until everyone becomes sick quickly, before the disease begins to subside again through the recovery of the injured.
This virtual simulation was for a very small city, so what about a rapidly spreading disease in a country like the United States with a population of 330 million?
The disease will need more time to spread among the population and also a longer time before it slowly recedes.
When it comes to the emerging coronavirus, it is preferable to slow the spread of the disease before it affects a large portion of the United States population, so let’s try enforcing forced quarantine, such as that applied by the Chinese government to Hubei Province.
As health experts have predicted, it has proven impossible to completely isolate the sick population from the healthy ones.
“Forced quarantine is impractical,” Liana Win, a former health commissioner for Baltimore, Maryland, told the Washington Post in January, explaining that “many people work in the city and live somewhat far from their work, and vice versa.” True, will people be separated from their families? How will all roads be closed? How will supplies reach the population? ”
“These types of closures are very rare and ineffective,” says Lawrence Justin, professor of global health law at Georgetown University.
Fortunately, there are other ways to slow the spread of the disease. Health officials have encouraged people to avoid public gatherings, stay home and keep a distance with others. Reducing mixing reduces the chances of the virus spreading.
But the crisis is that some are still coming out, perhaps because of their actions or other obligations, or even simply, because they refuse to heed the health officials’ warnings, these people are not only more likely to contract the disease, but also to spread it.
The Washington Post ran a virtual simulation, in which a quarter of the population continues to move, while the other three quarters adopt a “social divergence” strategy, as experts call it.
After simulating the assumption that only a quarter of the population would continue to move over a city of two hundred people, it seemed that they would infect a hundred others, while a quarter of the population remained healthy without disease, which indicates that the more “social spacing”, the slower the spread of the virus.
“We control the desire to be in public places by closing them. Italy closes all of its restaurants, China closes everything, and we also close some places now,” says Drew Harris, assistant professor at Thomas Jefferson University School of Public Health. It helps people to apply social spacing. “
Simulations were applied on the assumption that one in eight people would be allowed to move, so it seemed that three quarters of the population would remain safe, and that only about 50 of the two hundred people would become ill.
By applying virtual simulations to the four cases: freedom for all in movement, forced quarantine, and the application of limited, then intensive, “social spacing”, it became clear that the application of an intense “social spacing” strategy by people themselves, and precautionary measures such as closing places of assembly, are matters More effective than forced quarantine.
It should be remembered here that the simulation only calculated the number of potential injuries if the disease spread, but it did not count the deaths that might result from the injury.
It is clear that the elderly or those with other chronic diseases are more likely to die from the emerging coronavirus.