social distance
Original Published Date: 
Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Full article issued by The University of Sydney.

An ARC-supported data study from The University of Sydney has revealed that social distancing must be adopted by at least 80 percent of the Australian population to reduce the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Led by Professor Mikhail Prokopenko, who receives funding through the ARC Discovery Projects scheme to model the spread of infections, the study also revealed that social distancing would be an unproductive measure if adopted by less than 70 percent of the population. 

The research demonstrates that there is a clear trade-off between stricter measures, which if imposed earlier would reduce how long Australians are impacted by this disease, and laxer protocols which could mean a longer, more drawn out and ineffective struggle against COVID-19. 

The computer model used to generate these insights comprises over twenty-four million software agents, each with attributes of an anonymous individual, such as age, gender, occupation, susceptibility and immunity to diseases. Contact rates within different social contexts, such as households, household clusters, local neighbourhoods, schools, classrooms and workplaces are also built into the program.

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Image credit: Pexels (public domain).