Why travel restrictions and social distancing are important: the Long Game in the Wuhan virus Battle

I don't think that there is very wide understanding of what the travel restrictions and social distancing actually do to help the Wuhan virus crisis. The key to the battle is to halt the exponential growth of the infected population. That allows the natural process of the virus to run its course, but significantly provides the opportunity to treat the affected population within the limits of the healthcare infrastructure.

As the virus dies off in the affected population, it is then not reproduced in people newly infected due to the isolation.
During this period, we will devise better treatment approaches and a vaccine.
If the virus grows in the population unchecked, the healthcare system is over-whelmed and ultimate control is more complicated and costly in the form of more people adversely affected or killed.
Travel restrictions start having an effect after about 12 days based on the Chinese experience: the incubation period. Another another couple of weeks, those already infected will no longer be contagious.

The problem will persist in jurisdictions that do not isolate and contain the infected population. So gradually, governments are accepting the short-term political consequences of the isolation strategy and starting to implement it. The later this happens (like in Western Europe) the more people will suffer.


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