Is it safe to form a coronavirus ‘bubble of support’ with friends?


  • ILLUSTRA TION BY PETER HAMLIN

Is it safe to form a COVID-19 “bubble of support” with friends?

Yes, if done correctly.

Support bubbles, also known as quarantine pods, can help fend off loneliness and anxiety after months of social estrangement. The idea, which originated in New Zealand, requires that two people or households agree to socialize in person only with each other to limit the risk of infection.

Experts say don’t do it unless everyone agrees to follow social distancing guidelines outside of the bubble.

“Now you’re swimming in the same pool not just with that person, but with all the people that those people are interacting with,” said Dr. Aaron Milstone of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Support bubbles are already catching on in the US. USA With the reopening in progress. And earlier this month, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that adults living alone or with single parents can form bubbles of support with another home. The members of a bubble can gather, inside or outside, without staying two meters away.

It is too early to know if the strategy will work on a large scale. But a recent study indicated that bubbles with more limited contacts worked better to flatten the infection curve compared to other strategies, such as limiting contact to the neighborhood.

“I don’t think we can promise people complete security when they have face-to-face contact with other people outside their home,” said study co-author Per Block of the University of Oxford.

But he said limiting interactions to another family poses a much lower risk than resuming previous socializing habits.

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