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Social bubbles

What are ‘Social Bubbles’?

Social Bubbles are small groups of close contacts made up of friends and family may be the best way to keep COVID-19 contained when a lockdown is lifted.

According to the study from the University of Oxford in the UK, lifting the lockdown in favour of strategic distancing, could lead to improved compliance with official recommendations and ‘keep the curve’ flat, in terms of Covid-19 infections.

Temporarily restricting contact to those who share similar features, such as people living in the same neighborhood, and limiting interaction with occasional acquaintances were also found to be more effective than more random distancing measures.

The general principle of a social bubble is that you can have contact with people outside of your household, but keep the number of people tightly restricted.

The idea of ‘social bubbles’ is based on New Zealand’s model of household ‘bubbles’ – an exclusive social group that is allowed to meet with each other amid the pandemic.

The research team looked at three different scenarios for how people could interact more with others in a post-lockdown world while still keeping the spread of Covid-19 low. The third strategy, creating social bubbles, was the most effective strategy.

Maintaining similarity across contacts, such as only interacting with people who live within the same neighbourhood, and decreasing ties as occasional acquaintances were found to be highly effective when compared to reducing contact at random.

 

Benefits of Social Bubbles:

1.Based on the findings, the authors suggest that reducing high-impact contact, rather than reducing or removing it overall, can mitigate adverse social, behavioural and economic impacts of lockdown approaches while keeping risks low.

2.Social bubbles can also be applied by employers to create departmental or work unit bubbles of employees. For instance, for hospitals and essential workers, the risk of transmission can be minimised by introducing shifts with a similar composition of employees. This could mean clubbing together employees based on their residential proximity.

3.The authors of the study maintain that these “micro-communities” are difficult for a virus to penetrate and if in case the infection is contracted by one contact, it would be difficult for the virus to spread much further

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