A study from Imperial College London, has modelled the effect of Italy’s lockdown on COVID-19 transmission.
Dr Thomas House, Reader in Mathematical Statistics, University of Manchester, said:
“Italy is the European country that experienced the earliest surge in COVID-19 cases and as such it is important to follow the situation there closely. This paper quantifies the extent to which non-pharmaceutical interventions have worked, and reflecting the uncertainty in what will happen considers multiple scenarios that might hold as they are relaxed.
“This study is applicable to the UK, since the authors correctly recommend that the situation is closely monitored as aspects of lockdown are relaxed, and do not try to predict the future exactly but rather present scenarios that may plausibly be realised depending on how this process actually develops.”
Prof Linda Bauld, Professor of Public Health, University of Edinburgh, said:
“This report outlines how non-pharmaceutical interventions have suppressed the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (coronavirus) in Italy, resulting in the prevention of thousands of excess deaths. To most of us, these measures are better described as public health policies that amount to a ‘lock down’. What the report shows is that these policies have worked in Italy. In other words – lock down helps saves lives.
“The report also shows that even modest relaxing of lock down can result in a resurgence of virus transmission and more deaths. Without further measures being in place, these are projected to be at a scale that could overwhelm health services to a level even greater than that currently seen in Italy. However, what the analysis fails to account for is that lock down policies also cost lives. Continued stringent measures to keep people at home contribute to domestic violence, job losses and resulting poverty, homelessness, children denied education, social isolation, anxiety, depression and delayed diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other chronic diseases that will result in many avoidable deaths in the future.
“This limitation aside, the report sends a stark warning to other countries that did not take early action to contain virus transmission. It suggests that unless they take urgent action to implement a ‘test-trace-isolate’ (TTI) approach, any releasing of lock down measures could result in a rapid escalation of COVID-19 cases and deaths. The UK is now setting up our TTI approach at scale. But only this week our governments have explained to the public what it involves. To avoid the collateral damage that continued lock down creates, we all need to be ready to comply with government advice on supporting TTI efforts and the surveillance required. The alternative is continued lock down and all the harms that come with it.”
Full report: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/media/imperial-college/medicine/mrc-gida/2020-05-04-COVID19-Report-20.pdf
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