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Current Affairs

Ban on public events can bring down Covid-19 transmission rate

Date: 30 October 2020 Tags: Reports & Indices

Issue

Ban on public events can bring down the COVID-19 reproduction number (R) number by 24 percent in less than a month.

 

Background

An R value above 1 indicates a growing outbreak, whereas an R value below 1 indicates a shrinking outbreak.

 

Details

  • The research using data from 131 countries suggests that individual measures, including closure of schools and workplaces, ban on public events and gatherings of more than ten people, requirements to stay at home, and internal movement limits, are associated with a reduction in transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

  • They found that combining different measures showed the greatest effect on reducing the transmission of COVID-19

  • The study can inform decisions on which measures to introduce or lift, and when to expect to see their effects, but this will also depend on the local context -- the R number at any given time, the local healthcare capacity, and the social and economic impact of measures.

  • A ban on public events was associated with the greatest reduction in R -- 24 percent reduction after 28 days, which the researchers suggest may be because they are likely to prevent super spreader events and it was often the first measure to be introduced in countries.

  • The measures most strongly associated with an increase in R were lifting bans on gatherings of more than ten people and re-opening of schools.

  • The study, however, does not account for other potentially influential factors that have an impact on R -- including, among other things, compliance with the interventions, changes in population behaviour, sub-national differences in R, or the effects of contact tracing and isolation - all of which vary by context.

  • Using the R number as a proxy for transmission also has limitations, as it is difficult to estimate accurately, particularly when prevalence is low.