To eliminate the spread of the novel coronavirus, governments should synchronize lockdowns, a new model shows.
The model, published Friday in the journal Science, found that when intermittent lockdowns were synchronized across Europe, half as many lockdowns were needed to end community transmission all across the continent.
Nick Ruktanonchai, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, ran 1,200 simulations. To create the models, Ruktanonchai and his team used data from mobile phones provided by Vodaphone and Google that can show contact rates between people, in combination with different intervention scenarios.
The details: When the team ran a scenario that synchronized four cycles of three-week long lockdowns in all the countries in Europe, Covid-19 spread was eliminated 90% of the times.
When the lockdowns weren’t synchronized, community spread of the disease was eliminated only 5% of the time. When lockdowns are lifted early or unevenly, people interact and the disease spreads.
The authors argue this information is generalizable to other parts of the world, including the United States. They believe national governments should coordinate pandemic preparedness efforts moving forward.