These 2 COVID Precautions May Not Be Necessary After All, New Study Finds

According to new research, these measures may not be the key to combating COVID.

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There are many precautions we've been taking every day to try to stop the spread of COVID. For nearly a year now, we've been diligently washing our hands, wearing face masks in public, and trying to keep six feet between us and anyone not in our household. But on a larger scale, different countries have taken different approaches to mitigate the virus, and even within the U.S., precautions have varied from state to state. Full shutdowns, business closures, and masks mandates are just some of the protocols implemented throughout the world to try to get the virus under control. Since we'd never dealt with anything identical to COVID in our lifetimes, there was some guesswork on the best way to keep people safe. Now, a recent study out of Stanford University has discovered that two measures may not stop the spread of COVID as much as we thought.

To see which precautions we could skip, read on, and to see what the future of COVID looks like, check out The Moderna CEO Just Made This Scary Prediction About COVID.

Read the original article on Best Life.

The study compared countries that shut down to those that didn't.

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For the study, which was published in the Wiley Online Library on Jan. 5, researchers examined COVID case growth across 10 countries to determine how beneficial various precautionary measures proved to be, specifically looking at more restrictive measures like lockdowns and business closures.

Researchers compared COVID cases in England, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, and the U.S.—all of which instituted mandatory stay-at-home orders and business closures—to South Korea and Sweden, which only implemented voluntary personal precautions.

And to see if you're at risk for COVID now, check out The CDC Says If You're This Age, You're Now More Likely to Catch COVID.

The findings showed there is "no clear, significant" benefit to lockdowns and business closures.

Closed for COVID sign
Chansom Pantip / Shutterstock

After comparing the countries with more restrictive measures to those with less restrictive measures, it was clear to the researchers that there is "no clear, significant beneficial effect of [more restrictive measures] on case growth in any country."

Their findings suggest that mandatory lockdowns don't significantly stop the spread more than personal measures like social distancing and mask-wearing. "We do not question the role of all public health interventions, or of coordinated communications about the epidemic, but we fail to find an additional benefit of stay-at-home orders and business closures," the authors concluded.

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The research suggests less restrictive interventions can be just as effective.

young man and woman greet and say hello to each other while wearing masks and sitting 6 feet apart
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Sweden's approach included "social distancing guidelines, discouraging of international and domestic travel, and a ban on large gatherings," while South Korea "relied on intensive investments in testing, contact tracing, and isolation of infected cases and close contacts," according to the Stanford research. Even without more restrictive measures, both Sweden and South Korea had some of the lowest reported COVID cases for much of the pandemic.

As a result, the researchers concluded that "similar reductions in case growth may be achievable with less restrictive interventions" similar to those implemented by these two countries.

To see the CDC's most recent update about the vaccine, check out The CDC Just Gave a Shocking COVID Vaccine Update.

In fact, stay-at-home orders could potentially increase the spread of COVID.

A young woman looks out her window with a distressed look on her face due to coronavirus lockdowns
iStock

A study published in the journal Indoor Air in October looked at 318 outbreaks in China in which three or more cases were identified. The researchers divided the outbreaks into six categories: homes, transport, food, entertainment, shopping, and other—and they found people were 19 times more likely to get the virus at home. Similarly, research out of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill determined that your home is the most common place for COVID-19 transmission.

That's likely why the Stanford researchers noted that "it is possible that stay-at-home orders may facilitate transmission if they increase person-to-person contact where transmission is efficient such as closed spaces." They cited a November study published in the journal Science that identified an increase in transmissions and cases during a stay-at-home order in Hunan, China, due to intra-household transmission.

And to see what you could do to prevent the spread of COVID, check out These 3 Things Could Prevent Almost All COVID Cases, Study Finds.

Best Life is constantly monitoring the latest news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed. Here are the answers to your most burning questions, the ways you can stay safe and healthy, the facts you need to know, the risks you should avoid, the myths you need to ignore,and the symptoms to be aware of. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.
Allie Hogan
Allie Hogan is a Brooklyn based writer currently working on her first novel. Read more
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