The measures of social distancing taken the product of the pandemic coronavirus have managed to save millions of lives. This was established by an analysis carried out by international experts gathered in the project Covid Compass.
In total, 7.9 million people are still alive, most of them in China (7.2 million). With updated figures for mid-April of 2020, the prohibitions of leaving the house, prevented the death of 73,000 people in Spain and other 65,000 in the united States.
If the state governments had not closed schools, canceled public events and confined to people in their homes since mid-march, the united States would have regretted four times more than deaths recorded.
The agency SINC reported that the group responsible for the study was coordinated by the Spanish Carlos Duarte from the University of Science and Technology King Abdullah (KAUST) of Saudi Arabia. Their methodology has been based on a model of SIR (with susceptible, infected, and recovered) developed by professor David I. Ketcheson.
“We have taken into account the number of deaths every day and accounted for in each country and state by Johns Hopkins University and The New York Times, whereas the population data at the global level which facilitates the United Nations,” he explained.
SINC added that “the findings on mortality rates, period infectious environment and reproductive pace of the infection is based on a multitude of scientific articles, reports, and databases. Include, for example, analysis of patients from the cruise Diamond Cruise (that was nearly a month in quarantine near Tokyo), records of the first outbreak in Wuhan, the spread of the virus in european countries and excess mortality detected in Spain, Italy and New York.”
Carlos Duarte pointed out to the agency that “the model predicts, from the number of deaths reported, the number of new infections and deaths, but also included in an empirical way the effects of the different interventions of confinement to see how they influence on mortality rates”.
The model computes these rates by taking into account the current estimates of mortality of people infected, which is currently 0,006; that is to say, that 0.6 per cent of the people infected die, based SYNC.
“We are working on the development of this and other models for publication in scientific journals, but already allows to calculate the number of lives that have been saved (or deaths avoided) until the date thanks to the containment measures in relation to our prediction of mortality and what would have happened if they had not been adopted,” said Duarte.
In any case, stressed the expert, the lives that have been saved may be lost later in the absence of solutions, such as effective therapies or strategies to out smart that reduce the rate of mortality.
His colleague David I. Ketcheson stressed that the strategy of flattening the curve reduces the spread of the virus in the short term, but it involves an epidemic more prolonged, with a similar number of people possibly infected in the end.
Making a call to caution, he warned that “unless we develop quickly strategies smart, long-term and a more effective treatment for serious cases of COVID-19, it is possible that you may only have postponed many of these deaths”, he warned.
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