Lockdowns imposed by governments to curb the spread of Coronavirus have saved millions of lives and easing them prematurely carries a high risk, says two international studies.
“The risk of a second wave happening if all interventions and all precautions are abandoned is very real,” said Samir Bhatt, who was part of the research group at Imperial College of London. He warned that everyone was only at the beginning of the pandemic and herd immunity was not a reality yet.
The authors looked at figures from Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland in early May and compared the number of observed deaths against their model’s predictions.
Governments in 11 European nations were able to prevent deaths of over 3.1 million people, the study’s predictive modelling claims.
Another U.S.-based study found that lockdown in China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, France and the U.S., prevented or delayed around 530 million Coronavirus cases.
“Without these policies, we would have lived through a very different April and May,” said Solomon Hsiang, who co-led the study at the University of California, Berkeley.
They compared the infection growth rates before and after the containment policies were enacted in each country and found that without them, early infection rates would have grown by 68% in Iran and 38% across the other countries on an average, per day.
There are 7.1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide which have led to 406,616 deaths and seen the recovery of 3.29 million people.