Health experts gauge how, when to ease social distancing restrictions

While hospitals and health systems nationwide are still bracing for large surges of COVID-19 patients, STAT reports that some researchers are already looking ahead to an important question: How and when should the U.S. lift social distancing measures?

In a best-case scenario, some experts said the U.S. may be able to ease up on social distancing this summer. However, federal health officials must discern not only when this action is safe, but also develop a game plan if a second wave of the outbreak occurs after these measures are lifted.

The strategy gaining the most support among health experts involves "aggressive case finding, contact tracing, community surveillance, isolation of cases and quarantining of contacts," according to STAT

Singapore and South Korea used this strategy, which helped keep schools mostly open and allow for public movement, unlike the major shutdowns occuring in the U.S. and numerous European countries.

"Aggressive contact tracing and quarantine," which may be "more practical once case numbers have been reduced and testing scaled up — could alleviate the need for stringent social distancing to maintain control of the epidemic," researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health wrote in a preprint of a new paper on the topic.

To view STAT's full article, click here.

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