Today’s Solutions: November 29, 2021

Earlier this week we shared a story about a new study detailing how Europe’s rapid lockdowns helped prevent millions of deaths. Zooming out of Europe, an even bigger study now shows us just how necessary and effective global shutdowns were and still are in saving lives.

The new study, published in the journal Nature, found that shutdowns of industry and schools stopped 530 million new COVID-19 cases in just six countries: China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, France and the U.S.

Of the 530 million, shutdowns prevented 60 million cases in the US, a number which would have overwhelmed health care providers. Other estimates included 38 million more total infections in South Korea and 49 million more total infections in Italy.

To reach this estimate, researchers used an economic method in which they calculated the magnitude of the effect of each policy aimed at curbing the virus. They also used infection rate statistics from influenza outbreaks to help in their estimations. 

The study period in question ended April 6, meaning many more lives were likely saved after this timeframe. UC Berkeley professor and author of the study, Solomon Hsiang, says “The last several months have been extraordinarily difficult, but through our individual sacrifices, people everywhere have each contributed to one of humanity’s greatest collective achievements.” He believes that despite the difficulties, both economic and personal, no other human endeavor has saved so many lives in such a short period of time. 

Although this news is positive, it’s important to remember that we are still very far from herd immunity and that, if precautions are abandoned too quickly, the potential for a significant second wave of the virus is highly likely. And while the number of saved lives is higher, even quicker lockdowns would have prevented even more deaths in the, especially in the US. 

Nonetheless, this evidence demonstrates that our actions were not in vain and that the collective measures taken to flatten the virus’ curve did indeed save the lives of millions of our fellow human beings.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Italian garden installation shows us how much CO2 trees store

Trees are the lungs of our planet—we know that trees are needed because they sequester dangerous CO2 emissions, but do we really know how much we depend on them to clean the air we breathe? ... Read More

Go Cubs: The inspiring story of California’s undefeated deaf football team

The California School for the Deaf in Riverside had never won a division championship football game in its 68-year history, but that all changed this year when the team not only won a championship game ... Read More

New biomarker for Alzheimer’s discovered

Alzheimer’s is a complex neurological disease, with scientists still trying to piece together the complete puzzle of factors that contribute to its development. A number of different genetic and environmental risks have been determined─though more ... Read More

Bread and Roses uses floristry to empower refugee women in London

Rebuilding a life in a foreign country as a refugee is not an easy task. This is especially true for women, who often face more barriers than men as they are less likely to have ... Read More

Study: Schools of fish operate like a superorganism

The world under the waves is still a mystery, with 95 percent of oceans yet to be explored. Scientists are always uncovering many new and exciting aspects of this ecosystem; from the importance of fish ... Read More

New biodegradable glitter lets you sparkle guilt-free

As sparkly and magical as it is, glitter is actually a form of microplastic, and even products that claim to contain biodegradable glitter rarely actually are. This is a difficult issue to tackle because countries ... Read More