Why lockdowns can halt the spread of COVID-19
The UK, US, EU and many other countries are currently in some degree of “lockdown,” with restaurants and bars, shops, schools and gyms closed, and citizens required, or at least strongly encouraged, to stay home to avoid catching or spreading COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus.
Researchers are well on their way to discovering vaccines and treatments for the virus, but even in a best-case scenario, these are likely to be 12-18 months away.
Until then, extreme social distancing is pretty much the only intervention available to help individuals stay healthy, and to break the chain of transmission - giving more vulnerable populations a fighting chance of surviving this pandemic.
But how exactly does a lockdown work? And why is it important for even younger and healthier people, who face a lower risk of severe illness, to remain in their homes as much as possible?