Amid the pandemic, there is increasing pressure on the government to ease lockdown restrictions, especially to lift economic and psychological burdens on people who have been confined to their homes worldwide.
- A new study published in Nature Human Behaviour suggests that one of the ways of effective social distancing strategies to keep the Covid-19 curve flat include the idea of social bubbles.
What is a ‘social bubble’?
- Recently, UK’s roadmap for exiting the lockdown stated that people could expand their household groups to include one other household in the same exclusive group, in order to allow those who are isolated some more social contact, “and to reduce the most harmful effects of the current social restrictions, while continuing to limit the risk of chains of transmission.”
- This method would also allow some families to return to work by sharing childcare responsibilities.
- The idea is based on New Zealand’s model of household “bubbles”, an exclusive social group that is allowed to meet with each other amid the pandemic. The country followed this approach during the lockdown and allowed the expansion of the bubbles as transmission slowed and restrictions eased.
- People are allowed to extend their bubbles slightly to include caregivers or children who might be in shared care. It also applies to people who are living alone or a couple who wants the company of another one or two people.
- These people don’t need to live in the same household but must be local. “Always keep your bubble exclusive and keep it small,” the government’s advisory says.
- In case a member of the bubble develops symptoms, the entire bubble quarantines itself, preventing further spread of the infection.