The UK is now being described as ‘in lockdown’ after the government introduced further rules to encourage physical distancing and stem the spread of the coronavirus.

These measures came following concerning weekend scenes of people socialising in large groups and a US study has thrown light on why the Prime Minister has been so swift to react to people not heeding his advice.

The study, based on initial research from officials around the world found that, without physical distancing, one infected person spreads the virus to an average of 2.5 people. Without any measures in place to control the virus, within 30 days that one infected person would, on average, become 406 coronavirus cases.

In stark contrast, if people limit their physical interaction by 75%, an infected person would only spread the virus to an average of 0.625 people over five days and a total of 2.5 people over 30 days. Obviously you cannot spread the virus to a portion of a person so this means, if the 75 % physical distancing the government recommends was adhered to consistently, each infected person would have a 38% chance of infecting no-one else!

Dr David Poots, senior occupational health physician at BHSF, has re-iterated the need for UK citizens to heed and not ignore the physical distance measures brought in.

“The numbers from the study speak for themselves and proves that physical distancing is important. There is a big difference in the numbers and by not mixing outside your immediate family, it is the best way to stop the chain of infection.

“It is worrying that some people are still ignoring the guidelines. The numbers highlight just how serious the consequences could be. If people continue to mix with others, it could so easily have a domino effect resulting in more individuals getting the virus. People need to act responsibly.


“90% of people with the infection have a very mild illness, but we must protect the vulnerable people in our society and avoid overloading the NHS.

“The NHS is already under immense pressure as it is. If people play their part and stay at home, as advised by the government, they are helping to prevent the virus from spreading. It also means healthcare staff can have more capacity to attend to serious cases.

“It should be common sense for people to not meet face to face and be in large groups. Coronavirus will continue to have an impact over the next weeks and months, and possibly beyond that. We need to do everything we can to stop this virus. Physical distancing is of clear public health importance.”

A clear warning

Dr Poots has also warned that anyone can get the virus.

“As Covid-19 is a new mutation, almost no-one is immune and it’s very contagious. Some people with Covid-19 are seriously ill and we need to protect them.

“The less time people spend together, the less chance there is of the virus spreading.

“People by all means should go out and exercise at least once a day and shop for necessities. However, even when following the new guidance, I would strongly say to people to stay two metres apart when going outdoors.”


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