Social Distancing Demonstration
This little demonstration is designed to be used while talking about the
concepts of social distancing (behavioural changes, self isolation, avoiding large gatherings etc.) and
governmental intervention whereby a population is effectively in lockdown.
The initial white curve shows an epidemic caused by a novel virus introduced
into a completely susceptible population. The horizontal axis represents
time and the vertical axis represents the number of people infected.
The top of the lighter area represents the limit of our healthcare services.
If the number of people infected is in the darker area it means that our healthcare services
are overloaded by the fraction of infected people needing care.
Without social distancing or governmental intervention our healthcare services can be
massively overloaded as shown.
The first slider shows how increasingly active social distancing practices undertaken
early and consistently thereafter can spread the load on our healthcare services.
The second slider shows how additional temporary governmental intervention can further reduce
the load on our healthcare services and delay much of the epidemic until a vaccine can be
developed. The position of the slider changes the time at which the intervention is deployed.
The model does not show it, but a vaccine could eliminate the delayed epidemic
entirely if available early enough and if effective in terms of targetting and seroconversion.
The timing of any intervention is critical because it must happen during the
steepest section of the curve. If a vaccine is not available the delayed epidemic can
also overload our healthcare services and further periodic interventions may be needed as necessary.
The third slider simply moves the healthcare threshold.
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