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Does isolating the high-risk suppress COVID-19?

by Fahad Alkhater1 min read6th May 20201 comment

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Coronavirus
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We have 1-2 years before COVID-19 lockdowns are lifted permanently.

Until then, government's globally have adopted indiscriminate social distancing measures.

However, +99% of COVID-19 deaths are from those with pre-existing conditions.

If we targeted and isolated these high-risk individuals, would we be able to significantly reduce deaths, and secure hospital systems?

Would this be feasible with a government support program to enable high-risk to stay home, or move to care facilities, to protect them from the virus?

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In the series of posts including this one http://www.overcomingbias.com/2020/03/expose-the-young.html Robin Hanson has explored this option, along with various scenarios of deliberately infecting young volunteers with a reduced dose (variolation). In other viral illnesses such as smallpox infecting with reduced doses can greatly reduce the severity of the illness and mortality.

One of the issues is the feasibility of isolating high risk people. How do you isolate people who need care (e.g. people in care homes / nursing homes) from young people, when young people are going to be looking after them? Another is if you want to get to herd immunity, you may not have enough young healthy adults for this (perhaps 60% are needed, while young healthy adults are about 40-45% of the community).