06/15 News Flash 2: The Effect of Large-Scale Anti-Contagion Policies on the COVID-19 Pandemic

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Global efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus have affected all of our lives. In many ways, the world has stopped in an attempt to stop COVID––a strategy deemed controversial at times due to its impacts on socio economic fronts. But it seems like the desperate measures these desperate times have called for in fact helped us save a staggering number of lives.

Researchers at UC Berkeley, the National Bureau of Economic Research & Centre for Economic Policy Research and New Zealand conducted a study using reduced-form econometric methods, generally employed to analyze economic growth, to quantify the impact that anti-contagion policies had on the growth rate of coronavirus infections. Using data from six countries (China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, France and the United States), they estimate that large-scale interventions have spared 530 million total infections in those locations.

The expectation is that the information reported will help countries navigate the following months, guiding decisions surrounding when to reopen economies and when to tighten the grip of preventive policies.