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COVID-19 Outbreak Lasts Longer If Implementing Physical Distancing Is Delayed: Study

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin found that every day a city delayed implementing social distancing measures after the appearance of a first case added 2.4 days to the length of the COVID-19 outbreak

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Texas: Cities that took more time to implement social distancing measures also spent more time dealing with the virus than others that acted quickly, suggested a new analysis of COVID-19 outbreaks in 58 cities. In a new paper from epidemiological researchers at The University of Texas at Austin, now in press with the CDC’s journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, researchers studied cities throughout China and analysed when first cases were detected, when social distancing measures were implemented and when the outbreak was considered contained. The team found that every day a city delayed implementing social distancing measures after the appearance of a first case added 2.4 days to the length of the outbreak.

Every day saves time, saves effort, saves people becoming infected and probably saves lives. This is particularly important as we think about the coming weeks and months, said Lauren Ancel Meyers, a professor of integrative biology who leads the UT Austin COVID-19 Modeling Consortium.

The findings are applicable both to communities experiencing their first outbreaks and those that may see a resurgence in the coming months, Dr Meyers said. Waiting a week after early signs of resurgence might require about 17 more days of social distancing to slow the spread of the pandemic, according to the data.

It will be difficult to consider strict interventions again, but acting early upon signs of resurgence will mean fewer days of social distancing orders, said Spencer Fox, associate director of the UT. Austin COVID-19 Modeling Consortium and co-author on the paper.

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“Our findings have implications for the timing of interventions in U.S. cities,” Dr Meyers said.

“The impact of delays may be particularly important for communities that are prone to rapid transmission, such as nursing homes, colleges, schools and jails. We need concrete plans for when and how to respond to rising cases to prevent unnecessarily long and costly restrictions.”

To determine when an outbreak had been contained, scientists look at case counts and determine the reproduction number, a measurement that shows how many people will be infected by one infectious person. If the reproduction number drops below 1, scientists consider the outbreak contained.

Other studies into the impact of delaying social distancing measures have used modeling to estimate a link between the time of measures being taken and the effect on outbreaks.

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By contrast, this study used on-the-ground data to determine the link between cities taking measures to contain the virus and rates of the virus spreading.

The study was not able to determine which social distancing measures were most effective, but it showed that the timing of the first measure, regardless of the type, had a big impact.

“We provide direct, data-driven evidence that the timing of interventions has a substantial impact on how long an outbreak lasts, how effective our interventions are and, ultimately, how many people might be infected and die from the virus,” Dr Meyers said.

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Although the study looked at cities experiencing the earliest days of an outbreak, the findings are also relevant for cities in the middle of an outbreak, Dr Meyers said.

World

26,14,68,997Cases
22,22,61,229Active
3,40,08,183Recovered
51,99,585Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 196 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 26,14,68,997 and 51,99,585 have died; 22,22,61,229 are active cases and 3,40,08,183 have recovered as on November 29, 2021 at 3:42 am.

India

3,45,72,523 8,774Cases
1,05,6911,328Active
3,39,98,278 9,481Recovered
4,68,554 621Deaths
In India, there are 3,45,72,523 confirmed cases including 4,68,554 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,05,691 and 3,39,98,278 have recovered as on November 28, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

66,33,612 507

11,905 248

64,80,799 738

1,40,908 17

Kerala

51,29,359 4,741

49,152 957

50,40,528 5,144

39,679 554

Karnataka

29,95,285 322

6,783 143

29,50,306 176

38,196 3

Tamil Nadu

27,24,731 740

8,382 36

26,79,895 765

36,454 11

Andhra Pradesh

20,72,446 248

2,158 5

20,55,856 253

14,432

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,373 5

86 5

16,87,377 9

22,910 1

West Bengal

16,14,152 701

7,820 27

15,86,882 717

19,450 11

Delhi

14,40,834 27

290 11

14,15,448 37

25,096 1

Odisha

10,48,492 264

2,222 6

10,37,864 255

8,406 3

Chhattisgarh

10,06,733 27

326 7

9,92,814 20

13,593

Rajasthan

9,54,741 26

187 13

9,45,599 13

8,955

Gujarat

8,27,382 28

291 17

8,16,999 45

10,092

Madhya Pradesh

7,93,120 23

112 9

7,82,480 14

10,528

Haryana

7,71,654 11

159 1

7,61,441 10

10,054

Bihar

7,26,212 3

39 6

7,16,510 9

9,663

Telangana

6,75,479 160

3,545 11

6,67,946 148

3,988 1

Assam

6,16,435 123

2,720 71

6,07,624 189

6,091 5

Punjab

6,03,190 17

313 22

5,86,284 39

16,593

Jharkhand

3,49,216 20

109 0

3,43,967 20

5,140

Uttarakhand

3,44,183 14

150 6

3,36,626 8

7,407

Jammu And Kashmir

3,36,386 149

1,724 5

3,30,189 141

4,473 3

Himachal Pradesh

2,26,941 82

809 18

2,22,287 97

3,845 3

Goa

1,78,839 40

275 9

1,75,183 31

3,381

Mizoram

1,34,279 358

4,117 110

1,29,672 466

490 2

Puducherry

1,28,860 35

326 5

1,26,662 30

1,872

Manipur

1,25,117 19

673 1

1,22,474 18

1,970 2

Tripura

84,784 13

89 9

83,874 3

821 1

Meghalaya

84,414 20

308 27

82,635 44

1,471 3

Chandigarh

65,443 5

52 4

64,571 1

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,269 9

37 4

54,952 5

280

Sikkim

32,211 4

114 5

31,694 9

403

Nagaland

32,100 4

135 1

31,269 5

696

Ladakh

21,494 27

249 6

21,032 21

213

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,683

1 0

10,678

4

Lakshadweep

10,394

28 1

10,315 1

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,680 2

5 2

7,546

129

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