WASHINGTON: A new study published in the journal Health Affairs highlights the importance of social distancing in curbing the spread of coronavirus, reported The Washington Post.
According to the study, areas in the US that do not comply with social distancing norms face 35 times more cases of the deadly virus.
The study conducted by researchers from the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville and Georgia State University looked at confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States between March 1 and April 27, totaling about 1 million reported instances at the time, reported The Washington Post.
It looked at the policies mandating social distancing, and found that the growth rate of COVID-19 was slower in areas where the measures remained in effect for longer period, according to the report.
As per the study, for social distancing policies that lasted at least 16 to 20 days, the daily rate of infection dropped by more than 9 percentage points.
These social distancing measures included -- shelter-in-place orders, school closures, bans on large events and the closure of gyms, bars and restaurants.
"Holding the amount of voluntary social distancing constant, these results imply 10 times greater spread by April 27 without [shelter-in-place orders] ... and more than 35 times greater spread without any of the four measures," the researchers wrote in "Strong Social Distancing Measures in the United States Reduced the COVID-19 Growth Rate."
The researchers, however, wrote that the study did not look at 'actual social distancing but at whether the presence of government restrictions encouraging social distancing reduced spread' when compared to simply "providing information and recommendations."
"Further research is needed as gradual, untested steps toward reopening are taken across the country," according to the researchers.