The University of Louisville Journal of Respiratory Infections


Introduction: Social distancing has been utilized during the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, which is also expected to reduce the spread of common respiratory viruses.

Methods: This retrospective, descriptive study assessed the rate of positivity of common respiratory viruses from commercially available respiratory pathogen panel, across a five-hospital health-system, during four-week periods within March to April of 2019 and 2020.

Results: During the four-week period in 2019, the percent positivity of common respiratory viruses from week one to week four decreased from 6 to 32% among the four included viruses. In the comparator period in 2020, a decrease ranging from 74 to 100% was observed from week one to week four.

Conclusions: These data indicate that the social distancing efforts implemented in Louisville, Kentucky, may be associated with a decrease in incidence of common respiratory viruses. This decrease in positivity of common respiratory viruses may serve as a surrogate marker for the effect of social distancing on the transmission of SARS-CoV-2.


The author(s) received no specific funding for this work.



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
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