Nonpharmaceutical public health interventions to curb the COVID-19 pandemic: a narrative review
Keywords:SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, Nonpharmaceutical Interventions
Nonpharmaceutical Interventions (NPI) consist of compulsory (isolation, quarantine, stay-at-home orders, banning public gatherings, nonessential business closures, school closures), and voluntary (social distancing, handwashing, respiratory etiquette, and universal mask wearing) measures. The aim of this narrative review is to evaluate the different forms of NPI and their effectiveness in combating the pandemic. Isolation can be indicated for symptomatic and asymptomatic infected people at home or at hospitals depending on the patient’s clinical picture. Quarantine is a social distancing intervention in asymptomatic uninfected people who had contact with SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals. Stay-at-home orders refer to statewide mandates imposing nonessential business closures, prohibition of public events and gatherings, and travel restrictions. Studies have suggested that stay-at-home orders may be associated with a reduction in the incidence of COVID-19 in some countries. Mask wearing decreases the risk of COVID-19 in the community, especially when the surgical masks are used for vulnerable people. N-95 respirators protect health workers from COVID-19. NPI may be helpful to curb the COVID-19 pandemic while mass vaccination worldwide is not attainable, and the threat of SARS-COV-2 variants remain on the horizon.
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