Coronavirus – Twice as Contagious!

Angie SzumlinskiHealth, Studies

Impact 2020 BY KATIE CAMERO  SEPTEMBER 28, 2020

During the first months of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization estimated that each sick individual was infecting an average of two others. This “basic reproductive number” or (RO) and pronounced “R naught”, reveals how contagious a disease is. Now, new research from Duke University says the number was likely twice as big, with one infected individual bringing down an average of 4-5 people according to a study published September 24 in the journal PLOS One.

The findings also show that governments in the 57 countries analyzed had about 20 days from their first reported cases to enforce preventive measures such as social distancing and face mask guidelines to prevent widespread infections and deaths which they did not take advantage of. This research means the timeframe to reduce the RO to below 1.1 infections, a scenario where infections continue but outbreaks don’t occur, was much smaller than expected.

“These numbers confirm that we only had a small window of time to act, and unfortunately that’s not what happened in most countries”, study lead author Gabriel Katul, a professor of hydrology and micrometeorology at Duke University said in a news release.

The good newsis this information took research and time to identify, meaning that every country affected did the best they could at the time. It also gives us hope that we can learn from this study in the event we do have a second wave!

Excerpts from this study were originally published in the Miami Herald on September 28, 2020.