Alternating quarantine for sustainable epidemic mitigation

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Absent pharmaceutical interventions, social distancing, lock-downs and mobility restrictions remain our prime response in the face of epidemic outbreaks. To ease their potentially devastating socioeconomic consequences, we propose here an alternating quarantine strategy: at every instance, half of the population remains under lockdown while the other half continues to be active - maintaining a routine of weekly succession between activity and quarantine. This regime minimizes infectious interactions, as it allows only half of the population to interact for just half of the time. As a result it provides a dramatic reduction in transmission, comparable to that achieved by a population-wide lockdown, despite sustaining socioeconomic continuity at ~50% capacity. The weekly alternations also help address the specific challenge of COVID-19, as their periodicity synchronizes with the natural SARS-CoV-2 disease time-scales, allowing to effectively isolate the majority of infected individuals precisely at the time of their peak infection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number220
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
D.M. wishes to thank the support of the Bareket program in Bar-Ilan University, Israel. This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grant No. 499/19), the Bar-Ilan University Data Science Institute grant for COVID-19 related research, and the Dangoor Center for Personalized Medicine at Bar-Ilan University.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


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