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Lockdowns in Europe prevented 3.1 million deaths, a study says

Scientists from Imperial College London and Berkeley University warn that “the risk of a second wave happening if all precautions are abandoned is very real”.

FUENTES Nature, Imperial College AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus 10 DE JUNIO DE 2020 12:43 h
Photo: [link]Matt Seymour[/link]. Unsplash, CC0.

According to a study of the Imperial College London published online in the Nature magazine, “large-scale lockdowns and other non-pharmaceutical interventions in Europe, have been successful in reducing the transmission of coronavirus”.



The Imperial College scientists analysed data from 11 countries in Europe, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK, up until 4 May 2020.



They “estimate that, by that date, between 12 and 15 million individuals in these countries had been infected, between 3.2% to 4% of the population, with large country-to-country fluctuations”.



By comparing the number of deaths counted with deaths predicted by their model if no lockdown measures had been introduced, they found some 3.1 million deaths were averted, and infection rates dropped by an average of 82%.



“Our model suggests that the measures put in place in these countries in March 2020 were successful in controlling the epidemic, by driving down the reproduction number and significantly reducing the number of people who would have been infected by the virus”, Dr Seth Flaxman, one of the study authors, said.



 



Berkeley study: “Lockdown prevented 530 million cases”



A second study by scientists of the University of California, Berkeley, published alongside the Imperial-led one in Nature, analysed the impact of lockdowns in China, South Korea, Iran, France and the US, revealing that it prevented or delayed around 530 million cases.



“The coronavirus is a real human tragedy. Without these policies, we would have lived through a very different April and May. They had saved more lives, in a shorter period of time, than ever before", Solomon Hsiang, co-author of the Berkeley study, pointed out.





[photo_footer]Ifema, the biggest field hospital in Spain, was specially created for coronavirus patients. / Ifema. [/photo_footer]


“The risk of a second wave is very real"



Both reports warn that the pandemic is far from over. “The risk of a second wave happening if all interventions and all precautions are abandoned is very real", Samir Bhatt, researcher at Imperial College, told reporters in a press release.



“This is just the beginning of the epidemic. Any claims that this is all over, that we have reached the herd immunity threshold, can be firmly rejected”, he added.



 



“This is like a race against time to know how to treat this disease”



One of the groups that have experiences the pandemic more intensely are the health workers, who faced the reality of the coronavirus everyday.



“At first we only tried to attack the virus, but we have been learning to handle it better. This is like a race against time to know how to treat this disease”, Miguel Torralba, an internist at the University Hospital of the Spanish city of Guadalajara, told Spanish news website Protestante Digital.



Torralba recalled those first months with “a feeling of perceiving the vulnerability and fragility of the human being. I have had the opportunity to talk about the gospel, spiritual things with them. Sensitivity is on edge and that makes it easier to talk about spiritual things”.





[photo_footer]   Health workers of the Betania evangelical nursing home in Barcelona with robes and masks made by volunteers . / Noemi Bello. [/photo_footer] 


“This time is a desert that will test the faith of many”



Nursing homes have also been at the center of the pandemic, because “everything goes so fast […] the coronavirus is so destructive, that we were shocked”, explained Noemí Bello, an occupational therapist at the Betania evangelical nursing home in Santa Coloma de Gramanet, Barcelona.



Mónica, a doctor in Mataró, Barcelona, pointed out that “although I love my job and I take all the precautions, I am very aware of my vulnerability. I know that the only one who can keep me safe so that I can continue to look after my patients is God”.



This time is a desert that will test the faith of many. We hope that many will strengthen their faith and knowledge of God”, Vicente, a doctor working in La Paz (Bolivia), concluded.


 

 


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