Social distancing one week earlier could have saved 36,000 lives in US, study suggests coronavirus

Researchers say the new models show how even small differences in timing could have prevented the worst exponential growth of coronavirus cases. Author: TEGNA Published: 5:39 AM EDT May 21, 2020

New modeling shows that if the U.S. adopted coronavirus social distancing measures one week earlier in March, the country could have saved nearly 36,000 additional lives from COVID-19. Researchers say its a sign of how quickly the virus can spread when no measures are in place.

The estimates are from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. It’s based on modeling that looks at how reduced contact between people starting in mid-March slowed transmission, according to The New York Times. null

On March 16, President Donald Trump announced guidelines from the White House coronavirus task force aimed at slowing the spread of the virus. He asked Americans to avoid discretionary travel, avoid gathering in large groups and encouraged schools to teach remotely.

Columbia researchers say that had such measures been enacted on March 8, the number of total deaths, as of May 3, could have dropped by nearly 36,000. If the restrictions had gone into effect March 1, the researchers projected that the number of deaths could be 54,000 less, as of May 3. 

The leader of the research team told the New York Times that even small differences in timing could have prevented the worst exponential growth, which by April had already hit New York City, New Orleans and other towns. 

The team estimated that in New York City alone, the number of coronavirus deaths reported on May 3 could have dropped by nearly 15,000 to just 2,838. The researchers’ findings have yet to be peer-reviewed and were shared online to the preprint site medrxiv

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As of early Thursday morning, there were more than 1.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University. That includes more than 93,000 deaths.

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In response to the new estimates, the White House released a statement late Wednesday night to the New York Times that reiterated the president’s “assertion that restrictions on travel from China in January and Europe in mid-March slowed the spread of the virus.”

The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

7 comments on “Social distancing one week earlier could have saved 36,000 lives in US, study suggests

  1. It wouldn’t have mattered. On February 24th, Nancy Pelosi was inviting everybody to come to China Town in San Francisco to “party”…and then on March 6th, Gil Garcetti, the Mayor of Los Angeles held the LA Marathon. Now, tell me…how stupid were those things???

    Liked by 1 person

  2. They wanted it to spread so that we all have to get vaccines that may be dangerous. It’s those of us who want to social distance who can’t go about our business, including going to the doctor and dentist. We can’t take precautions if idiots impose themselves upon us in public places. Just like smokers who think it’s their right to poison us with their polonium laced smoke. It used to be that people asked if it bothered you if they smoked. Now they shoot waitresses who tell them not to smoke in non-smoking areas. People have lost all of their manners and gone stark raving mad with egotism. In the 1918 flu pandemic the police shot people who didn’t wear masks, because they were a public danger. Now we have people (e.g. shop managers) being shot for asking others to wear masks. People think they have the right to spew deadly diseases – not just this but colds, flu, AIDs. People need to respect other people’s space all of the time! There needs to be some introspection about why people think they have to be up in everyone’s face. And, why they don’t cover their mouths when they cough. If people kept a normal two to three feet/arms length and covered their mouths to cough and sneeze, and washed their hands, it wouldn’t have spread as much. It’s because people don’t cover their mouths when they cough and spit when they talk that we need six feet, instead of three feet. WTF are those of us who want to take precautions supposed to do if people get up in our faces and cough? Be constantly running like scared deer? I can still run but some people most at risk cannot. Saints and religious never had trouble being locked down and praying. WTF is wrong with people? And, if the lockdown and social distancing had existed in fact for around a month the virus would be dead. Almost no one respected it. There was no planning and no provision of food so they couldn’t really be locked down, though curbside pickup is close. The lockdown was the big joke and big fake most places apart from schools and night clubs. Some people were locked down but many weren’t. This country will die due to its lack of manners and disrespect for other people. Unfortunately, those who are disrespectful will carry others to their deaths. Those towns and countries who had strict social distancing and some respect for others were able to get their numbers down. I just hope that I can get out and go to another country so I can get dental and medical care without worrying about disrespectful idiots trying to kill me because they think it’s their right. WTF? Worse they have and will kill many who are frail. Just wake until winter it will be a horror show, like winter of 1918 and 1919. There’s not much that can be done for airplanes. It’s almost impossible to social distance. That’s the hitch and the calculated risk of getting out of a country full of homicidal idiots before it’s too late.

    Liked by 1 person

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