Coronavirus updates LIVE: Global COVID-19 cases surpass seven million, Australian death toll stands at 102

Shutdown orders prevented about 60 million novel coronavirus infections in the United States and 285 million in China, according to a research study published on Monday that examined how stay-at-home orders and other restrictions limited the spread of the contagion.

A separate study from epidemiologists at Imperial College London estimated the shutdowns saved about 3.1 million lives in 11 European countries, including 500,000 in the United Kingdom, and dropped infection rates by an average of 82 per cent, sufficient to drive the contagion well below epidemic levels.

The study examined how how stay-at-home orders and other restrictions limited the spread of the contagion.Credit:AP

The two reports, published simultaneously on Monday in the journal Nature, used completely different methods to reach similar conclusions. They suggest that the aggressive and unprecedented shutdowns, which caused massive economic disruptions and job losses, were effective at halting the exponential spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Without these policies employed, we would have lived through a very different April and May,” said Solomon Hsiang, director of the Global Policy Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley, and the leader of the research team that surveyed how six countries – China, the United States, France, Italy, Iran and South Korea – responded to the pandemic.

He called the global response to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, “an extraordinary moment in human history when the world had to come together”, and said the shutdowns and other mitigation measures resulted in “saving more lives in a shorter period of time than ever before”.

The Washington Post

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