With these measures a second lockdown can be prevented

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If the population supports measures such as keeping their distance and refrains from celebrating, a lockdown can be avoided.

“A second lockdown can be avoided if the population supports restrictions such as hygiene and keeping distances, but also if it avoids as far as possible familiar risky activities such as private parties.

This is the conclusion reached by complexity researcher Peter Klimek in an analysis published on Tuesday. To achieve this, politicians should “work with education, transparency and recommendations instead of threats and bans”.

In the “Policy Brief”, Klimek used the modelling and statistical analyses of the Complexity Science Hub Vienna (CSH) as a basis to examine how critical the current corona situation in Austria is and what measures are needed.

The scientist emphasizes that an uncontrolled spread of Covid-19 can still lead to an overload of the health care system, especially with regard to intensive care bed capacity. “We would reach this point with about 4,700 to 7,800 new infections daily,” Klimek said.

Closure of stores and restaurants
With currently about 900 cases per day on a 14-day average, this is still a long way off. Nevertheless, Klimek emphasizes that such growth cannot be ruled out within a few weeks or months, referring to other countries or regions such as Israel or Madrid. In this context, he also refers to increasing indoor activities in the coming months, which will increase the risk of sudden increases in infections.

The analysis also includes the results of a statistical survey by CSH of 54,000 corona measures taken in more than 200 countries in March and April. The most effective measures identified were the prohibition of all activities in which people in small groups have close contact with each other for longer periods of time, i.e. the closure of stores, pubs, offices and schools (especially at higher school levels).

However, much less drastic measures were almost as effective, Klimek said. Other highly effective measures include strengthening the health care system by separating infected and non-infected patients, protecting hospitals and nursing homes, canceling major events, restricting travel, and providing financial support for vulnerable groups of the population, for example, so that those who work in a precarious situation can afford to isolate themselves when symptoms occur.

Just one measure is not enough
No measure alone is sufficient to slow down the infection process, even the most effective ones can only be attributed a reduction in the spread of the virus of around 20 percent at most.

“In view of such results, it is all the more surprising that a 20 percent reduction in infections by simply wearing a mouth and nose protector is considered to be less effective in some places,” Klimek explained, also referring to the “pseudo-scientific battle of faith” about necessary measures that is not only going on in Austria.

The scientist still considers a regionally tailored mix of measures necessary to keep the epidemic under control. As cornerstones of such a mix, he cites the basic rules of behavior – hygiene, distance, mask in crowded closed places – as well as testing, tracing and isolating suspicious cases.

As soon as the latter is too much to handle, there is a particular risk of so-called superspreading events, such as events with many people in a confined space. “Measures to restrict private parties and similar events should therefore be given priority before thinking about more comprehensive curfews or school closures,” he says.

He considers “a national solidarity” to be necessary for the successful fight against the epidemic, “here neither the population can ‘wipe itself off’ from politics nor politics from the population”.

An unrestricted scientific consensus on the necessity of corona measures is not to be expected, partly because of political interests, Klimek explained. Nevertheless, one could trust science as a whole.

“The vast majority of scientific findings clearly state that neither alarmism with marginally increasing case numbers is appropriate, nor should we think of an uncontrolled running of the epidemic”.

— Hector Pascua, Source: kurier.at. Picture: stockilyapp.com

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