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Covid-19 vaccine programme, social distancing could counter future peaks

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on February 21, 2021 Published on February 21, 2021

File photo   -  PTI

A robust inoculation program and strict social distancing protocols could together mitigate the recurring peaks of the Covid-19 infection, according to epidemiologists and demographers from WorldPop at the University of Southampton.

The study, conducted in collaboration with the researchers at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, suggested that this measure would further subside the reliance on stay-at-home restrictions.

Methodology

For the study, the researchers employed anonymized mobile phone geolocation data with epidemiological and coronavirus case data from China. This was done to model the potential impact of vaccination and physical distancing on virus transmission.

They predicted the effect of different combinations of interventions on low, medium, and high-density cities in the country.

Findings

The team concluded that in most cities, vaccination programs and physical distancing combined will be enough to contain virus resurgence without the need to greatly restrict population mobility.

The researchers report cities with medium and high-density populations will need both vaccination and distancing to prevent future intense waves of Covid-19 until herd immunity is reached.

The team's results also suggest strong physical distancing interventions implemented for short periods of time may be more effective than mild, longer-term ones.

The researchers also mentioned some limitations to their study. These include the absence of data on the contribution of handwashing and face masks and challenges of vaccine supply.

The findings are published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.

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Published on February 21, 2021
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