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Non-pharmaceutical interventions could in some instances cut cumulative infections in half and reduce the peak number of infections. Unsplash

Non-pharmaceutical interventions such as voluntary shelter-in-place, quarantines, and other steps taken to control the novel coronavirus can reduce the peak number of infections, daily infection rates, and overall deaths, say researchers,

“High compliance with voluntary quarantine – where the entire household stays home if there is a person with symptoms or risk of exposure in the household – has a significant impact on reducing the spread,” said study author Pinar Keskinocak from Georgia Institute of Technology in the US.

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Utilizing data from the state of Georgia, the study, published in the journal PLOS ONE determined that a combination of non-pharmaceutical interventions could in some instances cut cumulative infections in half and reduce the peak number of infections.

The study compared actual statistics to revised models of what could have happened in the state during the past seven and a half months without the physical distancing.

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The study modelled the number of Covid-19 infections and resulting in severe outcomes, and the need for hospital capacity under social distancing, particularly, school closures, shelter-in-place, and voluntary quarantine.

The team developed and used an agent-based simulation model to project the infection spread.

According to the study, increasing shelter-in-place duration from four to five weeks yielded between two per cent to nine per cent and three per cent to 11 per cent decrease in cumulative infection and deaths, respectively. Unsplash

“This is a sophisticated mathematical model which mimics what might happen in practice – under different scenarios – by capturing the progression of the disease in an individual, as well as the interactions between people in the household, in peer groups such as schools or workplaces, or in community groups such as grocery stores,” the authors said.

The model utilizes parameters specific to Covid-19 and data from Georgia on population interactions and demographics.

Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: भारत की खादी आज मैक्सिको में कैसे बनी ब्रांड, पढ़िए पूरी कहानी

Outcomes were compared at the state and community level for the number and percentage of cumulative and daily new symptomatic and asymptomatic infections, hospitalizations, and deaths; Covid-19-related demand for hospital beds, ICU beds, and ventilators.

The results suggest that shelter-in-place followed by voluntary quarantine reduced peak infections to less than a third of what we would have seen if no intervention had taken place and to less than a half if only schools had been closed.

Also Read: Artificial Limbs to Differently-Abled by Charitable Body

According to the study, increasing shelter-in-place duration from four to five weeks yielded between two per cent to nine per cent and three per cent to 11 per cent decrease in cumulative infection and deaths, respectively.

“The takeaway message is that each of us has the power to control our health by making the right,” the authors wrote. (IANS)



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If humanity is hurt, God is hurt.

Religion without compassion might give way to hatred. Compassion with a "self-interest" motive is completely irreligious. But of late, some of the religions have departed from those basic human values. Love and compassion are for only those who follow their "specific" faith. Very sadly, the religions are up as trading commodities in the world of proselytization. Better preachers attract more followers. Of course, no issue if they are not vying for their religious "supremacy". But the ground reality is utterly different. The claim for exclusive supremacy has become the first commandment --- a real bone of contention among the existing religions. In the name of religion, we have polluted our minds. we have corrupted our souls. We have also gone so much astray that God must have now shut his gateway to heaven!

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Taking out time for family has become very difficult as people are pretty busy in daily life and find very little time to spend with their loved ones. Planning a family vacation is an excellent way through which the whole family can step away from their daily life and have fun. You can find many destinations for a family vacation, but there is no place that can beat Aruba.

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Milky Way galaxy as seen from Chitkul Valley

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has for the first time spotted signs of a planet transiting a star outside of the Milky Way galaxy, opening up a new avenue to search for exoplanets at greater distances than ever before.

The possible exoplanet -- or planets outside of our Solar System -- candidate is located in the spiral galaxy Messier 51 (M51), also called the Whirlpool Galaxy because of its distinctive profile, NASA said in a statement.

Astronomers have, so far, found all other known exoplanets and exoplanet candidates in the Milky Way galaxy, almost all of them less than about 3,000 light-years from Earth.

An exoplanet in M51 would be about 28 million light-years away, meaning it would be thousands of times farther away than those in the Milky Way, NASA said.

"We are trying to open up a whole new arena for finding other worlds by searching for planet candidates at X-ray wavelengths, a strategy that makes it possible to discover them in other galaxies," said Rosanne Di Stefano of the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard and Smithsonian (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who led the study.

The findings are published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

The exoplanet candidate was spotted in a binary system called M51-ULS-1, located in M51. This binary system contains a black hole or neutron star orbiting a companion star with a mass about 20 times that of the Sun. The X-ray transit they found using Chandra data lasted about three hours, during which the X-ray emission decreased to zero.

Based on this and other information, the team estimates the exoplanet candidate in M51-ULS-1 would be roughly the size of Saturn and orbit the neutron star or black hole at about twice the distance of Saturn from the Sun.

The team looked for X-ray transits in three galaxies beyond the Milky Way galaxy, using both Chandra and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton. Their search covered 55 systems in M51, 64 systems in Messier 101 (the "Pinwheel" galaxy), and 119 systems in Messier 104 (the "Sombrero" galaxy).

However, more data would be needed to verify the interpretation as an extragalactic exoplanet. One challenge is that the planet candidate's large orbit means it would not cross in front of its binary partner again for about 70 years, thwarting any attempts for a confirming observation for decades, NASA said.

Named in honor of the late Indian-American Nobel laureate, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the Chandra X-ray Observatory is the world's most powerful X-ray telescope. It has eight times greater resolution and is able to detect sources more than 20-times fainter than any previous X-ray telescope.

Known to the world as Chandra (which means "moon" or "luminous" in Sanskrit), Chandrasekhar was widely regarded as one of the foremost astrophysicists of the twentieth century. (IANS/JB)

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