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Is social distancing working? And how much longer do we have to do it?

We spoke with researchers and doctors at SLU who are diving into real-time COVID-19 data

ST. LOUIS — At times, it’s not easy, it’s isolating and it’s changing our everyday lives. But researchers at Saint Louis University told 5 On Your Side Friday that social distancing appears to be working.

“It’s really crucial that we keep up,” said Ana Santos Rutschman, a world health law professor at SLU.

She’s studying real-time COVID-19 death rates worldwide alongside infectious disease doctor Timothy Wiemken and behavioral science researcher Dr. Enbal Shacham.

“Part of the impetus behind this study is there are conflicting reports elsewhere,” Rutschman said.

One of those conflicting reports came from the White House with Pres. Trump saying in a news conference this week that he wants the country to open up by Easter.

READ MORE: President Trump says he hopes country is 'opened up' by Easter

“The idea that the country shall open within a few weeks and go back to normal, which is very, very unlikely,” Rutschman said.

So, how much longer do people need to stay away from one another? Rutschman doesn’t think it’ll be years or even months.

“We think that the next 20 to 30 days are going to be critical in the U.S. for social distancing,” she said.

Rutschman and her team said it’s critical for St. Louisans and all Americans to take social distancing seriously. While looking at China’s death rates compared to America’s, SLU’s findings are stark.

“So, if you think we are only a third of the way into this it means the worst is yet to come,” she said.

RELATED: Everything we know about coronavirus in the St. Louis area

The best reaction for all this is perhaps an overreaction, but it’s one Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, supports.

"I think we should be overly aggressive and get criticized for overreacting," Dr. Fauci said.

If you would like to see SLU’s data for yourself, check out the link here.

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