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Open AccessArticle

The Timing and Intensity of Social Distancing to Flatten the COVID-19 Curve: The Case of Spain

by 1,*,†,‡ and 2,‡
1
Departamento de Economía and INARBE, Universidad Pública de Navarra, Campus de ArrosadÍa, 31006 Pamplona, Spain
2
Department of Economics, Carleton University, C-870 Loeb Building, 1125 Colonel By Driver, Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: Departamento de Economía and INARBE, Universidad Pública de Navarra, 31006 Pamplona, Spain.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 7283; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197283
Received: 11 September 2020 / Revised: 25 September 2020 / Accepted: 29 September 2020 / Published: 6 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The COVID-19 Pandemic in Europe: Response to Challenges)
The continued spread of COVID-19 suggests a significant possibility of reimposing the lockdowns and stricter social distancing similar to the early phase of pandemic control. We present a dynamic model to quantify the impact of isolation for the contagion curves. The model is calibrated to the COVID-19 outbreak in Spain to study the effects of the isolation enforcement following the declaration of the state of alarm (14 March 2020). The simulations indicate that both the timing and the intensity of the isolation enforcement are crucial for the COVID-19 spread. For example, a 4-day earlier intervention for social distancing would have reduced the number of COVID-19 infected people by 67%. The model also informs us that the isolation enforcement does not delay the peak day of the epidemic but slows down its end. When relaxing social distancing, a reduction of the contagion probability (with the generalization of preventive actions, such as face mask wearing and hands sanitizing) is needed to overcome the effect of a rise in the number of interpersonal encounters. We report a threshold level for the contagion pace to avoid a second COVID-19 outbreak in Spain. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic; calibrated model simulations; social distancing; intensity; timing; policy design COVID-19 pandemic; calibrated model simulations; social distancing; intensity; timing; policy design
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MDPI and ACS Style

Casares, M.; Khan, H. The Timing and Intensity of Social Distancing to Flatten the COVID-19 Curve: The Case of Spain. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 7283.

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