COVID lockdowns have no clear benefit vs other voluntary measures, international study shows https://t.co/eCF9mFZ7yd
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) January 15, 2021
BY NATALIE COLAROSSI
A new study evaluating COVID-19 responses around the world found that mandatory lockdown orders early in the pandemic did not provide significantly more benefits to slowing the spread of the disease than other voluntary measures, such as social distancing or travel reduction.
The peer reviewed study, which was conducted by a group of Stanford researchers and published in the Wiley Online Library on January 5, analyzed coronavirus case growth in 10 countries in early 2020.
The study compared cases in England, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the U.S. – all countries that implemented mandatory lockdown orders and business closures – to South Korea and Sweden, which implemented less severe, voluntary responses. It aimed to analyze the effect that less restrictive or more restrictive measures had on changing individual behavior and curbing the transmission of the virus.
The researchers used a mathematical model that subtracted “the sum of non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPI) effects and epidemic dynamics in countries that did not enact more restrictive non-pharmaceutical interventions (mrNPIs) from the sum of NPI effects and epidemic dynamics in countries that did.”
Using that model, the researchers determined that there is “no clear, significant beneficial effect of [more restrictive measures] on case growth in any country.”
“Implementing any NPIs was associated with significant reductions in case growth in 9 out of 10 study countries, including South Korea and Sweden that implemented only lrNPIs [less restrictive NPIs] (Spain had a non‐significant effect). After subtracting the epidemic and lrNPI effects, we find no clear, significant beneficial effect of mrNPIs on case growth in any country,” the study said.
“We do not question the role of all public health interventions, or of coordinated communications about the epidemic, but we fail to find an additional benefit of stay-at-home orders and business closures,” the research added.