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Social Distancing as a Way of Life By Chris Knight
The question needs to be asked about the longer-term socio-psychological and bio-evolutionary effects of social distancing, and social isolation, if this corona bug crisis spills into months, years, decades, centuries … for according to neo-Darwinian, humans will start evolving into solitary non-social creatures, maybe even eventually reproducing asexually/vegetatively, like aphids and many plants, if the right random mutations occur, and they always do.
“For those wondering how long they'll have to be in quarantine because of the COVID-19 respiratory disease, the question for those in the US may not be how long, but how many times. Work posted on the medRxiv pre-print server Tuesday by a group of researchers at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston suggests that multiple targeted periods of "social distancing" of various kinds will likely be necessary for the US before any vaccine is found for the disease. There's a tension in fighting COVID-19: So-called herd immunity needs to be built up, which requires that the disease be allowed to spread to some extent, for without exposure, that immunity will never be built. But the disease must not spread so much that it overwhelms the US's medical resources. In "Social distancing strategies for curbing the COVID-19 epidemic," authors Stephen Iissler, Christine Tedijanto, Marc Lipsitch, and Yonatan Grad of the Chan School write that "a single period of social distancing will not be sufficient." Paradoxically, going into an intense quarantine with nothing to follow it can actually be counter-productive. Without repeated intervals of distancing, "there was a resurgence of infection when the simulated social distancing measures were lifted" in the model scenarios they ran. The authors found that a resurgence could happen even after especially arduous periods of distancing, such as a 20-week period of social distancing. "The social distancing is so effective that virtually no population immunity is built." Instead, the authors argue interventions need to be made multiple times over a period of time, called "intermittent distancing," at intervals that depend upon the state of the health care infrastructure at any moment in time, meaning, how much load it can absorb of critical care cases of the disease. "Intermittent social distancing can maintain critical care demand within current thresholds," they advise.”
So, social distancing could well become a new way of living, with constant surveillance far beyond anything George Orwell contemplated. Oh, did anyone ask us about this?