Billions of lives have been protected by the containment

Des milliards de vies ont été protégées par le confinement

Nelson Almeida Agence France-Presse
The containment strict imposed in several countries has helped to reduce the spread of the virus.

While everything seems to be going well for some time, some have the impression that all the containment measures that we imposed were not necessary. However, an article that appeared Monday in Nature shows that the containment is strict which have been submitted to the populations of most european countries has helped to save over three million lives, and substantially reduce transmission of the virus. No offense to the economists who accuse the government of having been alarmist, the containment has clearly helped to prevent the slaughter and curb the epidemic in those countries where it has been introduced.

The researchers from Imperial College London, the United Kingdom, who have published this article in the journal Nature, have estimated the effect of non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as the distancing physics, such as the prohibition of gatherings, the closure of borders and schools, and the containment of large-scale populations on the mortality and on the number of new infections at a time when the european countries began the déconfinement. They have made their estimates based on the number of deaths — due to the COVID-19 — which have been identified in 11 european countries between the time when the containment measures are effective, that is, between the 2, and march 29, according to the country, and on 4 may, the day of the lifting of those measures in Spain and Italy.

Thus, they have noticed that the combination of measures of distance-physical, and particularly the containment strict, which have been applied in these european countries has had a substantial effect on the transmission of the virus, since they have reduced significantly, from 82 %, the average number of infections generated by each infected person over the course of his period contagious, either the Rt, or the number of reproduction to the time t. The Rt, which was 3.8 at the beginning of the epidemic in march, had become less than 1, is 0.66 in average, on 4 may. According to the authors, these figures clearly show that the interventions that have ” helped to contain the epidemic “.

The researchers also predicted the deaths that would have occurred during the same period, either the month of march to 4 may, if no intervention of containment was not in place. Thus, they have calculated that the measures implemented have helped prevent 3 100 000 deaths in total in the 11 european countries. They state not to have taken account in their calculations of the overhead that would be incurred, in these circumstances, the health systems, which would then have been unable to offer access to the intensive care unit to all patients who needed. This makes it possible to imagine that the number of deaths would have been even more important than what they have estimated.

While the Montreal economic Institute (MEI) wonders, in a recent publication, about the true relevance to have imposed from the beginning of the epidemic containment as severe, which have been devastating for the economy and society, Benoît Mâsse, a professor at the School of public health, University of Montreal, said that ” in the face of a new pathogen that o n does not know, as was the case with the SARS-CoV-2 at the beginning of march, when the epidemic began, there was a great risk to humans ” not to introduce any of following strict measures. These measures ” can be put the economy to the ground, but this will be temporary, there are signs that it will resume more quickly than expected “.

“As the effect of a preventative measure does not become evident until two to three weeks after its establishment, whether the measures taken had not been sufficient, it would have cost many human lives, and it would have been very difficult to regain control of the epidemic, as can be seen in particular in Brazil and Pakistan. Even Sweden, which has been slow to take preventative measures, major issues today doubts about his strategy, given that the number of deaths is increasing, ” says Mâsse, who signed an opinion piece published on page A6 with colleagues from the universities of McGill, Laval, Toronto, and Imperial College London.

“The paradox of the preventive measures is that, if they work and they allow you to control the epidemic, one has the impression that they were not needed. When you get out of an epidemic, people often wonder if we haven’t done it all for nothing. But ask the families who have parents who have been very sick or died, they probably think not that we made it too ! “, noted Mr. Mâsse.

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