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COVID-19: Just 1 Infected Person Could Trigger Round 2

Author: Disabled World : Contact:

Published: 2020-04-12 : (Rev. 2020-04-18)


Relaxing social distancing rules before a vaccine or herd immunity is achieved means it will possibly take just one person infected with COVID-19 to restart another worldwide pandemic.

Key Points:

Main Digest

Opinion Piece:

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a coronavirus, a highly contagious virus that affects the respiratory tract. It is transmitted from one person to another. A coronavirus disease (COVID-19) can resemble the common cold, or be much more like severe respiratory diseases.

Every time someone who is infected with COVID-19 travels to a new, uninfected population, they run the risk of introducing this infection to a new group of people. The disease has already shown us how easily it can spread from room to room, from building to building, from city to city, and from one country to another country...

Models have shown that in one month just one infected person can lead to 244 people being infected, and in two months the number of people infected soars to 59,604.(i)

Illustration of a cross in red paint with the word Covid-19 in silver type across one length.
Illustration of a cross in red paint with the word Covid-19 in silver type across one length.

How Long Will Social Isolation Last?

Many people are wanting to know how long we will all need to stay in social isolation. In my opinion I can not see people returning to their normal lives until an effective vaccine can be produced on a global scale. Even then, it will take time to produce, deliver, and administer a drug and/or vaccine on a world-wide scale, this is referred to as community immunity or "herd immunity", and is currently the only true way out of the current crisis.

What does herd immunity mean? Herd immunity (community immunity) is defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as "a situation in which a sufficient proportion of a population is immune to an infectious disease (through vaccination and/or prior illness) to make its spread from person to person unlikely." and is the only real long-term strategy to eradicate COVID-19. By shrinking the pool of people who can catch the infection, this herd immunity effectively halts the virus from spreading much further. Immunise enough people, about 60% of the population, and the virus cannot cause outbreaks - the concept known as herd immunity.(ii)

Illustration of two people standing six feet apart. Flattening the curve starts with you - is written in red on the image.
Illustration of two people standing six feet apart. Flattening the curve starts with you - is written in red on the image.

Stop - Start Approach to Social Distancing

When people start getting together again, the coronavirus will start spreading and the number of new cases of infection are very likely to rise. We may have to incorporate a stop-start system to social distancing, where social distancing rules might be eased a little for awhile, allowing the number of cases to rise before stricter social distancing regulations are put back in place to keep infection levels within the bounds of what health services can cope with, and ensure hospitals and medical staff are not overwhelmed.

New computer modeling research from Harvard University, warns that it may be necessary for intermittent social distancing in the U.S. to be maintained at least until 2022 unless other solutions such as vaccines, drug therapies and aggressive quarantine measures can be put into place.(iii) In addition, there is also likely to be a resurgence in coronavirus cases toward the end of the year if the virus shows seasonal variation. A winter peak for COVID-19 coronavirus will also coincide with peak influenza season, placing a further strain on American health care systems.

Can People Become Reinfected with COVID-19?

There are some reports of people in China and Japan testing positive after recovering from the infection. In a few cases, patients again tested positive for the virus after they were no longer ill. Though, to be clear, it's unknown whether those people were truly reinfected or still just had low levels of the virus in their systems after they felt better.

"Some people who become infected with coronavirus may never develop symptoms, and some will only develop mild symptoms... Most people (who contract the virus) and show no symptoms will never know they were infected," Dr. Eyal Zimlichman, chief medical officer and chief innovation officer at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv, Israel.

COVID-19 Coronavirus is NOT Going to Just Disappear

If you lift the current restrictions that are holding the virus back, then new cases of infection will inevitably skyrocket.

"We do have a big problem in what the exit strategy is and how we get out of this," says Mark Woolhouse, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh. Currently no country has an exit strategy. To return to a life before the COVID-19 pandemic is both a massive scientific and societal challenge. Putting absolute time-lines on things as they currently are is not possible.

As long as the COVID-19 coronavirus persists in just one person, there is a chance that infected person, by coming into contact with other people, will start a COVID-19 pandemic all over again. And, even scarier, the longer this virus is out there, the longer it has to mutate into something even deadlier...

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Disclaimer: This disclaimer informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author's employer, organization, committee or other group or individual.

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