Lockdowns in Europe saved millions of lives

Lockdowns have saved more than three million lives from in Europe, according to a new study.

The team at Imperial College London said the “death toll would have been huge” without lockdown.

But they warned that only a small proportion of people had been infected and we were still only “at the beginning of the pandemic”.

They found restrictions had a “substantial effect” in reducing transmission levels of the virus in a modelling study involving data from 11 countries from the continent up to early May.

Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

By that time, around 130,000 people had died from coronavirus in those countries.

They began implementing social distancing, school closures and national lockdowns in March, with the UK going into lockdown on 23 March.

The researchers estimated interventions since the beginning of the pandemic had prevented 3.1 million deaths across the 11 countries, including 470,000 in the UK, 690,000 in France and 630,000 in Italy, a report shows.

“Lockdown averted millions of deaths, those deaths would have been a tragedy,” said Dr Seth Flaxman, from Imperial.

“Our analysis also suggests far more infections in these European countries than previously estimated. Careful consideration should now be given to the continued measures that are needed to keep SARS-CoV-2 transmission under control.” Dr Samir Bhatt, a study author from Imperial College London, said.

“If the world had never started lockdown”

Another study published Monday from the Global Policy Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley estimated if the world had never started lockdowns in response to the pandemic: There’s a strong chance that 530 million more people would have gotten COVID-19.

The lab examined the effects of more than 1,700 different lockdown measures across six countries: the US, China, South Korea, Italy, France, and Iran.

Lockdown measures prevented around 285 million people in China from getting sick, 60 million from the US, around 54 million infections in Iran, 49 million in Italy, 45 million in France, and 38 million in South Korea, according to the study.


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