Even the most extreme form of national lockdown can be the key to completely eradicate the coronavirus globally. Health experts from Harvard University have recommended that we should be physically separated from one another and avoid public gatherings for at least two years or even more.
Predicted that the aftermath of the COVID-19 will last until 2022, they have concluded that the most effective vaccine and clinical treatments will more likely to be present during this year.
The findings and what does our 2022 look like?
After a series of simulations that have been conducted, the intermittent physical distancing that we are practicing now will the new norm amongst us until 2020. The current distancing measures that are being implemented such as the stay-at-home orders and community lockdowns can suppress the spread of the virus on a hospital level. Infections will surge once more these are taken out of our daily lives.
Researchers have concluded that SARS-CoV-2 or the viral infection that causes COVID-19 among humans will not behave just like its predecessor, SARS-CoV-1 which was eradicated through extensive government measures on public health after the pandemic itself. They also highlighted that the coronavirus is not a seasonal disease that can circulate in a specific season. This answers the question if the spread of COVID-19 will most likely take place during the winter or cold season.
Envisioned to continually rise until 2025, infectious disease analysts have based their findings based on how long human beings can be immune to COVID-19. Indications have been made by those who are confirmed positive for the disease can generate an immune response as there are also asymptomatic and mild cases that haven’t been included yet in their study. Thus, prolonged measures must be heightened in the coming months until 2022.
Another striking reason is the waiting period to study for antibodies as a key factor for our immunity against the virus. They also foresaw an outbreak that can appear during the season of flu and fill the hospitals gradually. As they have identified the trajectory of the outbreak, they wanted governments to tailor their economic and social conditions on alternative measures.
They have also pointed out the limited availability of testing kits and medical personnel to handle both the experiments and the hospital. The population and health systems can be overwhelmed. Maximizing the physical distance can limit the ability of the virus to spread across people.
Social distancing vs physical distancing: which should be maintained until 2022
At the early stage of the outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that leaders, health officials, and local government units must implement ‘social distancing’ to prevent the transmission of the disease by air droplets. However, it was around the last week of March that WHO has started using the term ‘physical distancing’ instead of the latter to describe your ‘safe distance’ on a measurable level.
In a press briefing headed by a renowned epidemiologist from WHO, Dr. Maria Kerkhove, she has emphasized the usage of ‘physical distancing’ instead of ‘social distancing’. They have changed the proper term to highlight that we should be purposively distant from one another in a physical sense but remain intact with our friends and family. This applies to all government leaders and people who are working under the medical field.
But the big question is why to impose another term as if it’s a big deal. Kerkhove has mentioned the importance of our mental health which goes as vital as your physical health in all aspects. Maintaining the proper physical distance plays a life-changing role in the battle against infection and a further rise in the number of death and cases daily.
The WHO has also stressed out that while keeping a safe physical distance from another person is essential for survival, it should not mean that we have to socially drift from others. Using the word ‘social’ carries our mental and physical aspect while the word ‘physical’ shall focus on our drift from other people. Being socially distant from another person will mean isolation and completely shutting yourself from them including communication and interaction.
Technology has opened many ways on how we can stay close even though we are not present in the same four-cornered room. Top-earning companies also started to employ their trusted employees to do their job while at home. Educational institutions started implementing a curriculum that can adhere to the learning process of their students in the comfort of their homes.
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Thus, our means of earning for living and learning for a new skill will no longer be hindered by ‘social distancing’ but our bodies are ‘physical distant’ while are social skills are still on the boat. We can work, study, play, or enjoy the same virtual space without the physical contact that makes our cognitive skills and mental wellness to be dynamic despite the lockdown measures.
A Stanford professor under the Psychology program named Jamil Zaki has reiterated that using ‘social distancing’ to fight COVID-19 is contextually incorrect. In his speeches and commentaries, he even encourages communities to start practicing ‘distant socializing’ as this will be the new norm until the next years. This means that we can remain socially warm with other people despite the safe distance that we should maintain.
The life after the pandemic
Epidemiologists have made a stand that we should maintain physical distancing on a heightened level until the summer of 2022. Effective methods for contact tracing, adequate mass testing, and employment of skilled medical staff are some of the best ways to counteract the coronavirus pandemic. Having confidence in our government’s way to ensure in flattening the curve of the disease matters greatly.
Our life after the coronavirus pandemic is indeed more challenging other than the fact that we are suffering much already during the lockdown. With so many possibilities and unknowns that are stake, the parameters to counteract the virus can quickly change on a daily or a monthly basis. In the absence of an ‘absolute cure’ such as vaccines and antibodies, the best way that we can immune from the pandemic is to maintain physical distancing until such time that everything goes back to normal.