Slow relaxation of COVID-19 rules helps push recurrence back

Masked chefs work in a professional kitchen.

Enlarge / Spanish chef
Jordi Roca prepares dishes at the “El Celler de Can Roca”
restaurant in Girona on June 23, 2020, on the day it reopens after
a national lockdown to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
JOSEP LAGO / Getty Images

Countries like the United States have never really gotten the
pandemic under control, while others, like Brazil, haven’t even
slowed the pace of infections. But elsewhere, many countries that
took dramatic action to limit the spread of COVID-19 have seen the
rate of infections plunge, leaving them with the issue of how to
successfully emerge from the restrictions they put in place.

One of those countries is Spain, where infections have dropped
from a peak of over 9,000 a day in late March to only about 300 a
day at present. Two researchers based in Barcelona (Leonardo López
and Xavier Rodó) decided to look at different ways Spain could
have exited its restrictions while protecting future public health.
After building their model, they set it loose on other countries,
including the US. Their work lets us test what might happen if the
immunity developed in those infected fades over time or the
public’s fear of the virus subsides after it’s under control.

Lockdown vs. open up

How did Spain get cases in check? In part, by following the
advice of public health experts. On March 29, it placed everyone in
non-essential jobs on a strict lockdown. Two weeks later, with
cases dropping, restrictions started being eased. But the easing
was done cautiously, with a variety of restrictions being kept in
place as cases continued to drop. López and Rodó were interested
in looking at how this reopening could be handled in a way that
most effectively limits future returns of widespread

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Source: FS – All – Science – News
Slow relaxation of COVID-19 rules helps push recurrence