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Review: Quarantine Effective for Reducing Infection, Death

Review of 10 COVID-19 modeling studies showed larger effect for quarantine combined with other measures

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TUESDAY, April 14, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Quarantine is effective for reducing the number of people infected and deaths from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), according to a review published online April 8 in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

Barbara Nussbaumer-Streit, from Danube University Krems in Austria, and colleagues conducted a rapid review to examine the effects of quarantine of individuals who had contact with confirmed COVID-19 cases. Data were included from 29 studies, including 10 modeling studies on COVID-19.

The researchers observed a consistent benefit of simulated quarantine measures in modeling studies; for example, 44 to 81 percent of incident cases and 31 to 63 percent of deaths were averted by quarantine of people exposed to confirmed or suspected cases compared with no measures in different scenarios. Based on very low-certainty evidence, the earlier quarantine measures are implemented, the greater the cost savings would be. A small effect on reducing incidence and deaths was seen for quarantine of travelers from a country with a declared outbreak (based on very low-certainty evidence). The models demonstrated a larger effect on the reduction of new cases, transmissions, and deaths when they combined quarantine with other prevention and control measures, including school closures, travel restrictions, and social distancing compared with other measures alone.

"While quarantine may help in containing the COVID-19 outbreak, decision makers will need to constantly monitor the outbreak situation locally in order to maintain the best possible balance of measures in place," Nussbaumer-Streit said in a statement.

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