Why is social distancing so important?

Why is social distancing so important?

MedExpert Quick Answers

By MedExpert | Mar 25, 2020



Why is social distancing so important?



A new study published in the highly reputable medical journal Science, describes why social distancing is so important to slow the spread of COVID-19. The paper mathematically models the spread of the coronavirus within China from January 2020 to current. Here are the highlights.  

  • For every confirmed case of COVID-19, there are likely another five to 10 people with undetected infections.
  • Although they are thought to be only about half as infectious as individuals with confirmed COVID-19, individuals with undetected infections were so prevalent in China that they apparently were the infection source for 79 percent of confirmed cases.
  • After China established travel restrictions and social distancing, the spread of COVID-19 slowed considerably.


Substantial undocumented infection facilitates the rapid dissemination of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2). Li R, Pei S, Chen B, Song Y, Zhang T, Yang W, Shaman J. Science. 16 March 2020. [Preprint ahead of publication]