New figures from a Harvard study suggests that social distancing could stay in place until 2022 to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday Harvard published the report in the medical journal Science will be a blow for governments and health authorities globally.
Models used by Harvard warn that social distancing measures may need to stay in place from preventing a more deadly second wave of coronavirus.
Lifting measures all at once will delay the peak of people becoming infected, but they ultimately warn a single period of social distancing will not be enough.
The Harvard study said, “We projected that recurrent wintertime outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 will probably occur after the initial, most severe pandemic wave.
“Absent other interventions, a key metric for the success of social distancing is whether critical care capacities are exceeded.
“To avoid this, prolonged or intermittent social distancing may be necessary into 2022.
“Additional interventions, including expanded critical care capacity and an effective therapeutic, would improve the success of intermittent distancing and hasten the acquisition of herd immunity.”
The report added that surveillance on the virus “should be maintained since a resurgence in contagion could be possible as late as 2024.”
Medical experts and scientists are urging the government not to lift the lockdown otherwise a second coronavirus wave could be even more deadly than what we are seeing now.
Dr Jeremy Rossman, Honorary Senior Lecturer in Virology, University of Kent said, “If we exit too early, we risk nullifying all of the hard work and sacrifices each one of us has put in.
“The restrictions are working, and case numbers and fatalities appear to be stabilising, but there are still a large number of active infections in the country and relaxing restrictions now could directly lead to a resurgence of Covid-19.
“A dramatic resurgence of cases could necessitate a second lockdown, which would be harder to implement and maintain.”