Corona lockdowns may have saved 59,000 lives in Europe already, says study

The lockdown in London. to stop the coronavirus outbreak could last for up to six months, government officials warned Sunday. Photo: Abdul Haseeb P/Maktoob

The pandemic controlled lockdowns might have already saved up to 59,000 lives across 11 European countries battling the spread of the coronavirus, according to a study by experts in the United Kingdom.

Basing their modelling on the numbers of recorded deaths from new coronavirus, researchers from Imperial College London said most countries it looked at had likely dramatically reduced the rate at which the virus spreads.

Using the experiences of countries with the most advanced epidemics like Italy and Spain, the experts compared actual fatality rates with an estimate of what would have happened with no measures such as school closures, event cancellations, travel ban and complete lockdowns.

They added that as the lockdowns continue there will be a decrease in transmission rates so “the rate of acquisition of herd immunity will slow down rapidly”.

The week-long lockdown in UK has saved 370 lives, the study suggests.

But the study also shows that the Europe remains a long way from developing “herd immunity”, whereby the vast majority of people have caught, recovered from and become immune to coronavirus.

“Our estimates imply that the populations in Europe are not close to herd immunity,” the experts said.

Many European countries have now implemented unprecedented measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, including isolation of confirmed and suspected cases, closing schools and universities, banning mass-gatherings, and most recently, wide-scale social distancing including local and national lockdowns.

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