The restrictive measures taken by European countries in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic have already saved from 21,000 to 120,000 lives. This conclusion was made in a report prepared by employees of several research organizations.
Quarantine saves lives
The authors of the study reviewed the situation in eleven countries: Austria, Belgium, Great Britain, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Norway, France, Switzerland and Sweden. All these states have taken certain measures to prevent the spread of the virus. These include the closure of educational institutions and entertainment facilities, the abolition of mass events, the restriction on border crossings and the promotion of social distance (the exact list of measures depends on the specific country).
Experts wondered how this affected the reproductive number of epidemic R. This is the average number of people who become infected with each new infection. It is clear that if R = 1, then the epidemic is spreading at a constant speed: a hundred people will be infected with another hundred, and those – a hundred new ones, and so on. If R <1, then the epidemic decays. For example, with R = 0.5, one hundred people will be infected with 50, those – 25, and so on, until the number of new cases comes to naught. But at R> 1, the infection spreads with acceleration. So, with R = 2, one hundred people will be infected with 200, those – 400, and so on. This is a typical picture of an unchecked epidemic.
Of course, the reproductive number for a pathogen transmitting through personal contact, the less the less people come into contact with each other. Quarantine measures are designed for this.
Experts concluded that the reproductive number in the countries surveyed did indeed decrease. It is difficult to name exact values, but in some places (for example, in Italy) it could drop to unity or even lower. If so, then quarantine measures helped turn the tide.
How many people were saved?
Researchers estimate that in the absence of restrictive measures by the end of March, from 21 to 120 thousand additional deaths would have occurred. But quarantine measures will save even more lives in the future.
Recall that, if the spread of COVID-19 is not restrained by anything, in one year the infection can affect the entire population of the Earth and kill 40 million people.
According to researchers, in the countries examined, from 2% to 12% of the population is currently infected with coronavirus.
How to convince the incredulous
At the same time, some people continue to pretend that nothing unusual is happening in the world and quarantine measures are contrived. So, residents of the United States, the country with the largest number of deaths from COVID-19, publish photos of their parties in protest against the “restriction of rights and freedoms.”
On the pages of Business Insider, experts give advice on how to overcome this dangerous stubbornness.
First, they say, the cause of this supposedly skepticism is often not sober judgment, but fear. People are so frightened by rumors and effective phrases that some defend themselves from fear in an extravagant way: they completely deny the reality of danger.
Therefore, instead of frightening slogans in the style of “We are at war” or “Danger threatens any”, doubting opponents should provide specific facts set forth in a calm tone.
Secondly, mistrust is caused by uncertain estimates and unjustified forecasts. At the same time, references to the experience accumulated by mankind inspire confidence and soothe. Therefore, the best answer to the question of how long this will last is “judging by the experience of past pandemics, quarantine measures should last so many months,” and not “no one knows” or “about a year is supposed.”
Finally, it is very important to check the source of information before you share this or that news.
At the same time, specialists who have the latest information on the spread of the pandemic should communicate important information to the population as often as possible.