As the weather begins to warm up and summer approaches, many people may wonder if that also means easing up on social distancing, as there is a belief that COVID-19 may be like influenza and returning seasonally in the winter months. However, a group of Harvard disease researchers recently stated that people around the world may need to practice some level of social distancing from time to time through 2022 to keep the virus from resurging and overwhelming hospital systems.
Whether or not it is seasonal, it is important to remember that COVID-19 mostly spreads among people in close contact (within about 6 feet) with others for a prolonged period. The virus spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air and land in the mouths or noses of people nearby. The droplets can also be inhaled into the lungs.
In addition, people may be infected yet not show any symptoms so continue about their business, unknowingly playing a role in the spread of COVID-19. While the severity of infection or illness in different for everyone, ANYONE can get and spread the virus so we ALL have a role to play to mitigate the spread. There is no vaccine and there is no herd immunity at this time.
Lifting social distancing measures too soon or all at once may just serve to delay the pandemic hitting its peak. On-and-off social distancing measures may be needed until hospital capacity is increased or effective vaccines or treatments are developed.