What's the greatest fight you've seen

Two studies on the anti-corona fight: : "One of the greatest achievements of mankind"

These are numbers that all skeptics should silence. All mask grouches, all shutdown critics, all school opening sympathizers. You should be taken note of right now, where the number of infections is increasing rapidly worldwide - Latin America, South Africa -, there are also sources of infection in Germany again and the fear of a second Covid-19 wave is rampant in general.

From the beginning of the corona pandemic to May 4th, 3.1 million lives were saved in eleven European countries. 3.1 million! Border and school closings, lockdowns and contact blocks, masks and distance rules have saved them from death and made it possible to monitor the course of the pandemic. This is the result of a study that was recently published in the scientific journal “Nature” under the direction of Seth Flaxman.

The research group from "Imperial College London" had examined the course of the pandemic and the death rate in eleven European countries - including Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Great Britain. Their calculations are based on the assumption that without government intervention the number of reproductions would have remained constant at 3.8, i.e. would have increased exponentially. Ten infected people would have infected an average of 38 other people. As a result of the measures taken, the value was then reduced by 82 percent to below 1, at least temporarily. Their conclusion: "Non-medical interventions, especially exit restrictions, had a great effect in reducing the number of infections."

530 million infections prevented

The authors of the study estimate that between 12 and 15 million people in the eleven countries were infected with Covid-19 during the period in question. That is between 3.2 and 4 percent of the respective population. In Germany the numbers are considerably lower (between 0.66 and 1.1 percent of the population). Without government intervention, there would have been around three to five times more infected people.

The effects of changes in human behavior were not taken into account in the calculations. The researchers are also aware that their projections vary widely. The deaths would often be counted differently depending on the country. “We had to rely on the number of deaths from the EU health authority ECDC, which were often incomplete.” The figure of 3.1 million is an average estimate; only 2.8 million deaths could have been prevented or even more, up to 3 ,5 million.

"Saved so many lives in such a short time"

The results coincide with a second “Nature” study. It was created by a team of researchers led by Solomon Hsiang from the University of California in Berkeley. Hsiang is the director of the Global Policy Laboratory. Here the course of the pandemic was analyzed in six countries - China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, France, USA. The result: By April 6, 1717 local, regional and national non-medical interventions had prevented around 530 million infections. Without the measures, the number of people infected would have been 465 times higher in China, 17 times in Italy and 14 times in the USA.

It is said that the timing of the measures was decisive for the course of the pandemic. Apparently small time delays would have resulted in "dramatically different" processes. However, infection rates depend heavily on how many people are tested in a country.

Nevertheless, Hsiang sums it up in a communication from his university: “No other human endeavor has ever saved so many lives in such a short time.” Due to the limitations of each individual, “humanity has achieved one of its greatest collective achievements”.

Now new: We give you 4 weeks of Tagesspiegel Plus! To home page