Quarantine alone or in combination with other public health measures might help to control COVID-19

Citation:  Nussbaumer-Streit B, Mayr V, Dobrescu AI, et al. Quarantine alone or in combination with other public health measures to control COVID-19: a rapid review. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2020; (4): CD013574

What is this?  During the COVID-19 pandemic, some people are in quarantine to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus.

In this Cochrane Rapid Review, the authors searched for research into the effects of quarantine (alone or in combination with other measures) of individuals who had contact with confirmed cases of COVID‐19, who travelled from countries with a declared outbreak, or who live in regions with high transmission of the disease. They also looked for studies of SARS and MERS, which might provide indirect evidence. They did their search on 12 March 2020 and included 10 modelling studies on COVID‐19, four observational studies and 15 modelling studies on SARS and MERS (the results of which were consistent with the results from the COVID-19 studies).

What was found: The modeling studies consistently reported a benefit of the simulated quarantine measures, with estimates that quarantine of people exposed to confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 prevented between 44% and 81% of the cases that would otherwise have happened, and 31% to 63% of the deaths.

The earlier the quarantine measures are implemented, the greater the cost savings will be.

When quarantine is combined with other prevention and control measures, such as school closures, travel restrictions and social distancing, the modelling studies estimated an even greater effect on the reduction of new cases, transmissions and deaths.

What’s uncertain: Confidence in the evidence is very limited because the models are based on limited data from the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic and made different assumptions about the virus.


Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on the coronavirus (COVID-19) but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the basis of this summary alone.

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