'Covid-19 spreads too fast, digital tracing offers way out from lockdowns'

Modified 1 Apr 2020, 4:00 am

CORONAVIRUS | The Covid-19 pandemic is spreading too fast for traditional methods of tracing and isolating suspected cases to keep up, argued a group of University of Oxford researchers.

This is based on the group’s mathematical model of the disease’s spread, which examined the success rate needed - in both isolating symptomatic cases and subsequently quarantining their close contacts - to contain the spread of the disease.

They found that the strategy is unlikely to succeed with manual contact tracing methods, even if the process took as little as three days.

These odds are markedly improved if contact tracing can be done instantaneously, and the researchers argued that mobile phone apps might do the trick.

“Delays in these interventions (tracing and isolation of cases) make them ineffective at controlling the epidemic: traditional manual contact tracing procedures are not fast enough for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19)...

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