Strategic distancing: the middle-ground between isolation and re-opening society

Lifting the lockdown, but adopting strategic distancing, can keep the COVID-19 curve flat - and lead to more compliance with official recommendations than stricter measures

In a new study published this week in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, Dr Per Block, Professor Melinda Mills and a team from Oxford’s Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, in collaboration with researchers from Zurich, use extensive modelling to show the impact of loosening the lockdown on the course of the virus.

The study backs the creation of ‘social bubbles’ and demonstrates that the infection rate can be kept much lower by strategically reducing contact, than by simple social distancing in a post-lockdown world. According to the study, ‘compliance with recommendations strategically to reduce contact is more favourable than compliance with complete isolation and, thus, can keep the curve flat in the long run.’

Dr Block, lead author of the article states, ‘We demonstrate that strategic reduction of contact can strongly increase the efficiency of social distancing measures, introducing the possibility of allowing some social contact while keeping risks low. This approach provides nuanced insights to policy makers for effective social distancing which can mitigate negative consequences of social isolation.’

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