A group of renowned COVID-19 experts including researchers from the Complexity Science Hub Vienna (CSH) call for a strong and coordinated European response with clearly defined goals to avoid ping-pong infection.
"With open borders across Europe, a single country alone cannot keep the number of COVID-19 cases low," a group of international scientists, economists, doctors and senior academics state in The Lancet. Joint action and common goals among countries are therefore essential.
When infection rates are high, we lose for instance the tool of testing, tracing and isolating, or the ability to control the spread by means of regional measures. In this case, hard lockdowns remain the only viable option to bring the case numbers down."
Peter Klimek, Complexity Science Hub Vienna, Medical University of Vienna
Klimek has been part of a consortium advising the Austrian Ministry of Health since March and is a leading expert in epidemiological modelling.
"We cannot wait until vaccination saves us," Klimek adds. "Vaccines will eventually bring the pandemic to an end. But this won't be before next fall or winter. We urgently need a strategy for the next couple of months to avoid further lockdowns with their tremendous impact on society and the economy."
The initiative urges governments throughout Europe
- to agree on clearly formulated common goals,
- to coordinate their efforts,
- to develop regionally adapted strategies to reach the goals,
- and thereby work resolutely towards low case numbers.
Case numbers should not be higher than 10 new COVID-19 cases per million per day. Once this goal is reached, the numbers must be carefully watched. Local outbreaks must be answered with rigorous regional responses.
Priesemann, V., et al. (2020) Calling for pan-European commitment for rapid
and sustained reduction in SARS-CoV-2 infections. The Lancet. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)32625-8.