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‘Lockdowns averted 3 million deaths in Europe’

Lockdowns prevented around 3.1 million deaths in 11 European countries, according to a new modelling study published on Monday, as most nations tiptoe out of the strict measures to halt the spread of the new coronavirus.

Research by Imperial College London, whose scientists are advising the British government on the virus, found that restrictions such as stay-at-home orders had worked to bring the epidemic under control. Using European Centre of Disease Control data on deaths in 11 nations in the period up to May 4, they compared the number of observed deaths in the countries against those predicted by their model if no restrictions had been imposed. They estimated that approximately 3.1 million deaths had been averted by the policies.

Researchers also calculated that the interventions had caused the reproduction number — how many people someone with the virus infects — to drop by an average of 82%, to below 1.0. “Our results show that major non-pharmaceutical interventions, and lockdown in particular, have had a large effect on reducing transmission,” the authors said in the study, published in Nature Research.

The researchers estimated that cumulatively between 12 and 15 million people had been infected in the period — or between 3.2 and 4% of the population of the 11 nations.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 10:06:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/lockdowns-averted-3-million-deaths-in-europe/article31782240.ece

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