Polis Says Social Distancing Effects Won’t Be Visible for Weeks
But don't get discouraged yet. Governor Jared Polis said that we will see the effects of social distancing — just not for a few weeks.
According to The Coloradoan, Polis revealed the news in a presentation from Colorado's Emergency Operations Center on Friday (March 27).
He stated that the lack of visible effects from social distancing is due to the slow onset of COVID-19 symptoms, the virus' rapid spread, and how long it takes to get test results.
Data from the presentation showed that the impact from original social distancing measures taken on March 13, such as closing schools and ski resorts, is just now becoming evident.
Results from the closure of restaurants, movie theaters, hair salons, and other businesses on March 17 are expected to appear this week.
Polis estimates that the effects of Colorado's stay-at-home order, which was enacted on March 26, won't be apparent until April 7.
However, he warned that these dates could be extended if people do not follow the stay-at-home order.
"Treat this like you would a tornado, or a flood, or a wildfire, or a hurricane," he said. "This is every bit as serious, and the loss of life is going to be far greater than many of those other events that we've experienced here in the state of Colorado."
The primary goal of social distancing is to reduce what is called the "R naught factor," which shows that one infected Colorado resident could transmit the virus to up to four other people.
The World Health Organization (WHO) currently estimates that the world's average "R naught factor" is around 2.5.
Without social distancing efforts, Polis stated Colorado's death toll from the virus could be as high as 33,000 by June. With distancing efforts, he said that number could be reduced to 11,500.
If an infected individual only spreads the virus to three people, The Coloradoan reports that social distancing could reduce this number to 400.
"We're going to get through this. There's a light at the end of the tunnel," Polis said. "But it's really important that we work together to contain this global pandemic and that it doesn't take the lives of tens of thousands of Coloradans before their time."