Without lockdown across the world coronavirus would have killed 40 million, experts say – The Sun

A STAGGERING 40 million people could have died from coronavirus if no measures had been taken to combat the spread of the deadly bug, according to a shocking new study. 

Researchers at Imperial College London found that mitigating strategies, including putting countries on lockdown, has saved around 38 million lives.

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On the other hand, if coronavirus had been left unchecked – around seven billion people could have been infected – about 90 per cent of the global population.

It comes as across the world over 530,000 people so far have been been infected with coronavirus and more than 23,000 people have died.

The researchers were able to make their findings based on analysis which estimated the potential scale of the pandemic across the world.

They say with mitigation strategies such as protecting the elderly and social distancing, the death toll could be anywhere from 50 percent to 95 percent – saving 38 million people.

The researchers are emphasising that their models are not predictions of what will happen, but rather they illustrate the magnitude of the problem and the benefits of rapid, decisive and collective action.

The report is the twelfth from the research team since the outbreak began in Wuhan, China in December 2019.

Dr Patrick Walker, a member of the faculty of medicine at Imperial, said: "Our findings suggest that all countries face a choice between intensive and costly measures to suppress transmission or risk health systems becoming rapidly overwhelmed.

"However, our results highlight that rapid, decisive and collective action now will save millions of lives in the next year."

The list of countries on lockdown is rapidly growing as the virus continues to spread at an alarming rate.

The majority of the countries in lockdown are in Europe, which is the "epicentre" of the global coronavirus pandemic, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).


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Countries on lockdown include the UK, India, Australia, Italy, Denmark, Ireland, Spain, Germany, Portugal and France.

The Imperial College London study highlights that without lockdown in countries like these, there could have been a significantly bigger loss of life.

Researchers looked at a handful of scenarios, including what would have happened if the world had not reacted to the coronavirus outbreak – which they dubbed the 'unmitigated scenario'.

They also included two scenarios including social distancing, which resulted in a single-peaked epidemic: mitigated scenarios.

There were also several scenarios for combating the spread of the disease that can have the largest overall impact in terms of reducing disease and deaths.

According to the unmitigated scenario, if left unchecked, the virus could have infected seven billion people and caused around 40 million deaths this year.

In the UK, a scenario in which no measures were put in place could have led to 490,000 deaths, and in the US 2.18 million deaths.

The team says rapid adoption of proven public health measures, including testing and wider social distancing to prevent the spread, are critical in curbing the impact of the pandemic.

Reducing social contacts by 40 percent, alongside a 60 percent reduction in social contacts among the elderly population, could reduce this burden by around half

The researchers say if all countries were to adopt this strategy at 0.2 deaths per 100,000 population per week, 95 percent of the deaths could be averted, saving 38.7 million lives.

However, if this strategy is adopted later, at 1.6 deaths per 100,000 population per week, then this figure drops to 30.7 million.

Professor Azra Ghani, chair in infectious disease epidemiology at Imperial, said: "Rapid, decisive and collective action is required by all countries to limit the effect of this pandemic.

"Acting early has the potential to reduce mortality by as much as 95%, saving 38.7 million lives.

"At the same time, consideration needs to be given to the broader impact of all measures that are put in place to ensure that those that are most vulnerable are protected from the wider health, social and economic impacts of such action."

The UK daily coronavirus death toll soared past 100 for the first time yesterday – with a victim killed every 13 minutes.


Official figures released yesterday showed the pandemic had claimed 578 lives in Britain, up 113 from the previous total.

A total of 11,658 people have tested positive in the UK, with 4,300 NHS beds filled with Covid-19 patients.

It came as NHS head Sir Simon Stevens warned it faced the biggest challenge since World War Two.

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