BOSTON (CBS) – It’s the question on everyone’s mind. How much longer are we going to be living like this?

“Largely based on the kinds of epidemic curves that we saw in China and South Korea and now in Italy…it will be at least three or four weeks and that is an optimistic estimate,” said Northeastern University researcher Samuel Scarpino. “It easily could be five or six weeks.”

He and fellow N.U. researcher Alessandro Vespignani have developed mapping that forecasts infectious diseases. Vespignani is part of a team that consults federal officials on policy and public health decisions based on these predictions.

WBZ asked about this summer. Will people be able to go away for vacation? How about travel? Vespignani said it depends on where. “If the other countries and other states are able to mitigate, we can go back to travel patterns,” he said.

Non-essential businesses will reopen first, he said. Concerts and sporting events may not happen at all. “Thinking about large mass gatherings and concerts, probably this is something we should think about if it will be possible or not,” he said.

And then there’s the question of fall. “There is certainly a chance that in the fall there will be a resurgence of COVID-19 cases,” said Scarpino. “We will need to have aggressive measures for testing and case isolation to prevent a resurgence.”

They’re also suggesting a different timeline with a slower return to “normal” for the elderly population, moving more gradually toward smaller gatherings and less travel, and more mask-wearing in public for the foreseeable future.

Christina Hager

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