People force isolation on themselves

What happened if? 14 days quarantine for everyone and the virus is over?

Sars-CoV-2 has become an indispensable part of life. For months, researchers, politicians and society around the world have been dealing with the coronavirus and trying to find solutions to contain the pandemic and stop the virus. The whole world is alarmed, but Sars-CoV-2 turns out to be a rather complicated opponent every day. Or could the solution be very simple?

Simply all in quarantine

MDR user Ramona Gleissner from Chemnitz thought about that. She wondered if you couldn't just quarantine everyone in the world for 14 days. Then the virus should be defeated, right?

Sounds fascinatingly simple - but only as a mind game. Because the answer is: no. Such a measure is absolutely not feasible in practice, says Luka Cicin-Sain from the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research.

You cannot force 7.8 billion people on earth into isolation at the same time. That is not feasible. Even if we could, we would leave the patients in the intensive care units to their fate. But that is not possible. For God's sake, they're human.

Prof. Luka Cicin-Sain, Helmholtz Institute Center for Infection Research

So much for the merciless reality. But, from a purely theoretical point of view, it would be a way to contain the virus strongly. But Sars-CoV-2 would not stop it, says the virologist.

Even if all people were in quarantine or in isolation for 14 days at the same time, that does not mean that the virus is fought with it. The 14 day period applies only to people with mild or no symptoms. But there are also people with a severe course who are sick for five or six weeks and are also contagious.

Luka Cicin-Sain

So you would have to keep all of humanity in isolation until the last Covid-19 patient is symptom-free for at least 14 days. That alone would mean a simultaneous isolation of all people for several weeks. But that might not be enough either.

Unpredictable factors

There is always a small residual risk of being a vector, even if you are symptom-free again after the illness and are considered healthy. However, we cannot test all people over and over again. That is beyond our capabilities.

Luka Cicin-Sain

The worldwide quarantine is therefore practically impossible to implement. Neither ethically, socially, financially, medically, nor economically. There are also other unpredictable factors that contribute to the virus spreading anyway.

The virus can be transmitted to animals. We know that because we use animals to create infection models or vaccination studies. But that also means that it cannot be ruled out that animals will continue to spread the virus. Even if you could lock up 7.8 billion people, you can't do that with animals.

Luka Cicin-Sain

So the only pragmatic way is to contain the virus in other ways. The lowest-threshold measure is the consistent adherence to the AHA + L + A formula.

Strict measures necessary

When the number of cases is out of control, there are very many people who are carriers of the virus but do not even know they are carriers. So we pose a danger to every person at risk. And they also contribute much more to the spread of the virus than people who know that they are carriers. That said, the undetected carriers are the real problem.

Viola Priesemann, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization

The number of cases could therefore keep increasing. What follows is the overload of the health system. According to Priesemann, it is then urgently necessary to stop the further spread of Sars-CoV-2 at the latest. A lockdown would be a measure.

Better to lockdown sooner than later. Because just as there are doubling times when the infection spreads, there are also halving times. The sooner you take tough measures, the easier it is to reach the thresholds that you need to loosen up again.

Viola Priesemann

In order to get the spread of the virus under control, stricter measures are now required. A worldwide quarantine is not possible. However, it is restricted contact bans, compliance with hygiene rules and taking symptoms seriously and following them up. Each individual is responsible for ensuring that the spread of Sars-CoV-2 is contained and that we at some point lead a life again that is not dictated by the corona virus.

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