The past few years have been challenging. The pandemic forced the world indoors and caused us to adapt to a new way of life. Many of us are still adjusting and getting used to post-pandemic life and although nothing can make that easy, this new study might be able to help us remember that this sacrifice was all worth it.
“There have been many policies enacted by governments around the world to control Covid-19 transmission. Many of them can have some impact on reducing virus transmission, though they can also hurt our mental health and the economy,” stated lead author Dr. Jonathan Stokes.
A team from the University of Manchester and Imperial College London analyzed reflective data looking at the relative effects of different non-pharmacological interventions that were implemented to help control the spread of Covid-19. Out of the nine interventions examined, the closing of schools and workplaces had the most significant impact, with a decline in early death rates attributed to the virus.
The study used complex data analysis to remove bias and account for each intervention. From this, they found that over 24 days, closing schools reduced mortality by 1.23 daily deaths per million and workplaces by 0.26 deaths per million. For the UK population at roughly 67 million, this equates to around 82 and 17 daily deaths respectively. Other interventions such as stay-at-home orders (‘lockdowns’) and restrictions on public transport, were found not to be as significant in reducing mortality rates.
“Our study contributes to the growing literature and our clear finding was that schools and workplaces were linked to lower mortality in the early period. of the pandemic. We’re not saying schools and workplaces should close but rather, policymakers might build these insights into their subsequent pandemic strategies in the future,” added Stokes.
Whatever the future may bring – another wave of Covis-19 or a whole different pandemic entirely – knowing which strategies are most impactful and which aren’t is vital information to reduce strain on health care systems, mental health, and economies, while most importantly, saving lives.
Source study: BMC Public Health – The relative effects of non-pharmaceutical interventions on wave one Covid-19 mortality: natural experiment in 130 countries