Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

COVID-19 shutdown prevented 60 million infections in U.S., study says

The study also estimated that international lockdown efforts prevented more than 500 million infections worldwide.

Pixabay
  • On Monday, the journal Nature published two studies on the efficacy of shutdown measures.
  • Both concluded that shutdown efforts led to significant decreases in death and infection rates.
  • The studies highlight how important it is to consider exponential growth when thinking about the spread of viruses.

Shutting down the U.S. to limit the spread of COVID-19 has cost the nation millions of jobs and trillions of dollars. But what's less clear is what these measures have accomplished so far.

On Monday, a study published in Nature offered an answer: 60 million infections were likely prevented in the U.S. due to shutdown orders. The study also estimated that shutdowns in other countries prevented about 530 million infections worldwide.

"These findings may help inform whether or when these policies should be deployed, intensified, or lifted, and they can support decision-making in the other 180+ countries where COVID-19 has been reported," the researchers wrote.

woman having her temperature taken with infrared thermometer

GREGG NEWTON / Getty

The study examined the efficacy of interventions in six countries: China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, France, and the United States. The researchers looked at epidemiological data in various areas, recording how quickly the virus was spreading without any preventative measures in place. In most areas, the number of infections was roughly doubling every two days.

Using this data on how fast COVID-19 was spreading in the spring, the researchers used economic models to estimate the effects of the six nations' shutdown orders. The results suggest that non-pharmaceutical interventions — like closing businesses and public spaces — significantly slowed the spread of the virus.

"Without these policies employed, we would have lived through a very different April and May," Solomon Hsiang, lead study author and director of the Global Policy Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley, told the Washington Post.

Venezuela Under National Quarantine Due To Coronavirus

Getty Images

A separate study also published Monday in Nature points to a similar conclusion. Conducted by a team at Imperial College London, the study examined 11 countries in Europe, estimating that shutdown orders saved 3.1 million lives and dropped infection rates by an average of 82 percent.

"Our results show that major non-pharmaceutical interventions and lockdown in particular have had a large effect on reducing transmission," the researchers wrote. "Continued intervention should be considered to keep transmission of SARS-CoV-2 under control."

The power of exponential growth

Both studies highlight the importance of stopping a virus from spreading as early as possible. That's mainly because of exponential growth: When infections double every two days, it doesn't take long to reach pandemic levels. In other words, an outbreak left unmitigated becomes increasingly dangerous with every minute.

"...our analysis of existing policies indicates that seemingly small delays in policy deployment likely produced dramatically different health outcomes," the Berkeley researchers wrote.

Both studies also noted that the pandemic is ongoing, and suggested that these kinds of non-pharmaceutical measures are still helping to limit the total worldwide number of infections.

"The whole point of this study is to help us understand what we got for this tremendous sacrifice that the country has gone through," he told the Washington Post. "Ultimately, whether or not it was worth it is something society has to decide."

Remote learning vs. online instruction: How COVID-19 woke America up to the difference

Educators and administrators must build new supports for faculty and student success in a world where the classroom might become virtual in the blink of an eye.

Credit: Shutterstock
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • If you or someone you know is attending school remotely, you are more than likely learning through emergency remote instruction, which is not the same as online learning, write Rich DeMillo and Steve Harmon.
  • Education institutions must properly define and understand the difference between a course that is designed from inception to be taught in an online format and a course that has been rapidly converted to be offered to remote students.
  • In a future involving more online instruction than any of us ever imagined, it will be crucial to meticulously design factors like learner navigation, interactive recordings, feedback loops, exams and office hours in order to maximize learning potential within the virtual environment.
Keep reading Show less

8 principles that will make you smarter about money

It's not the act of buying but how you spend money that improves happiness and life satisfaction.

Personal Growth
  • To prove money can't buy happiness, people point to millionaires and lottery winners who ruined their lives.
  • Psychological studies have shown that learning how to spend your money can improve overall happiness.
  • We explore eight money-spending principles that research suggests can bolster life satisfaction.
Keep reading Show less

Has science made religion useless?

Placing science and religion at opposite ends of the belief spectrum is to ignore their unique purposes.

Videos
  • Science and religion (fact versus faith) are often seen as two incongruous groups. When you consider the purpose of each and the questions that they seek to answer, the comparison becomes less black and white.
  • This video features religious scholars, a primatologist, a neuroendocrinologist, a comedian, and other brilliant minds considering, among other things, the evolutionary function that religion serves, the power of symbols, and the human need to learn, explore, and know the world around us so that it becomes a less scary place.
  • "I think most people are actually kind of comfortable with the idea that science is a reliable way to learn about nature, but it's not the whole story and there's a place also for religion, for faith, for theology, for philosophy," says Francis Collins, American geneticist and director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). "But that harmony perspective doesn't get as much attention. Nobody is as interested in harmony as they are in conflict."

Signs of Covid-19 may be hidden in speech signals

Studying voice recordings of infected but asymptomatic people reveals potential indicators of Covid-19.

Ezra Acayan/Getty Images
Coronavirus
It's often easy to tell when colleagues are struggling with a cold — they sound sick.
Keep reading Show less
Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast