headshot of Prof. Amy Greer
Prof. Amy Greer

Prof. Amy Greer, Department of Population Medicine, spoke to the National Post and Teen Vogue about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Greer told the National Post that the models that she has been developing with colleagues from the University of Toront suggest that “aggressive social distancing” for 32 weeks would slow transmission significantly and “flatten the curve” of infection.

She said social distancing for 16 weeks could reduce the number of cases at the epidemic peak by 50 per cent, which “would be better than where we would be otherwise,” she said. But she added that she understands that long-term isolation is difficult.

“We’re asking people to do something that is really challenging and we’re going to be asking them to do it for a very long time, until a vaccine is available,” Greer said.

Teen Vogue also sought Greer’s advice on why it’s important to avoid unnecessary community contact. She told the magazine it is simply not safe for teens to go to nail salons, even in places where businesses have not been forced to close.

“Right now, we’re at a critical window for trying to slow down the spread of COVID-19,” Greer said. “If we wait to act, intense disease spread will continue to occur, and this rapid increase in diagnosed cases will swamp our health-care systems.”

A manicure, she added, it is not a life-sustaining, essential service. Unnecessary community contact puts salon workers and the broader community at risk.

Greer is an associate professor in the Ontario Veterinary College’s Department of Population Medicine and holds the Canada Research Chair in Population Disease Modelling.

She has made several media appearances in recent weeks to discuss the pandemic forecasts.