Why Europe’s second, less severe lockdowns are working

The restrictions have limited the rate of new infections, especially from long trips

11/30/2020 9:38:00 AM

Europe’s lockdowns have had less effect on mobility in autumn than in spring, but have still reduced the rate of new infections

The restrictions have limited the rate of new infections, especially from long trips

ESS THANa year after covid-19 spread across the world, scientists have produced several vaccines that may offer high immunity. But mass inoculation is months away. Until then people must contain the virus by wearing masks, travelling less and limiting contact with other households.

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Politicians who thought their citizens would stop socialising of their own accord have been disappointed. America’s daily deaths are near record highs as the virus runs amok. Europe’s cases surged in October, causing 11 governments to reimpose national stay-at-home orders. They hope these lockdowns will reduce infections to manageable levels for Christmas. But after a grim spring, they must worry that people will be less compliant this time around.

Google’s smartphone data confirm that Europe’s latest restrictions have had less impact on daily life. In March the average number of trips—to places such as supermarkets, restaurants, transport hubs and offices—fell to 35% of the level in January. After rebounding to 83% by the time of the latest lockdowns, mobility has now dropped only to 68%. This smaller effect could be caused both by more flexible rules and less enthusiasm for obeying them. headtopics.com

Yet these less stringent lockdowns are still working. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’s estimates ofR—the average number of new people who catch the virus from each infected person—are dropping. In European countries that enacted second lockdowns,

Rfell from an average of 1.1 in the week before the new restrictions to 0.9 in the week after. That small change makes a big difference. Over four weeks, it would mean new infections falling by 21%, rather than rising by 36%.For 334 local authorities in England and Wales (akin to America’s counties), we have also calculated which aspects of lockdowns matter most. We combined estimates of

Rfrom Imperial College London with travel records from Teralytics, a Swiss technology firm, and Google’s smartphone data. Then we used mediation analysis, a statistical technique, to disentangle the effects of different types of mobility.We found two ways that lockdowns suppress

R. First, reducing trips to work helps, as do fewer outings to restaurants, bars and shops, though the effect of those leisure settings may vary a lot. (Usage of parks or public transport had no impact, perhaps because visitors are outside or wearing masks.) Second, lockdowns deter people from travelling to other local authorities. This is probably the most important factor in decreasing headtopics.com

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Roverall.This is all good news. Looser lockdowns cost less than total closures. And when governments reopen businesses, they can mitigate extra mingling among customers by urging them to stay in their local areas, for now. That is the best way to get the virus under control before Christmas.

■Editor’s note: Some of our covid-19 coverage is free for readers of Read more: The Economist »

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Because all curves were already going down. Lockdowns not necessary. Just creates hunger in poor countries is this based on deaths or infections? maybe the virus is slowly leaving? You can’t have it both ways.... transport is low “perhaps because people wear masks”. When was the last time you saw a person in a supermarket without one? And that is highest? Masks don’t work.

but you said previously it's aginst human rights. bitch Why are we raising money? In Afg millions struggle to make ends meet.more than 80%of the Afg population live below the poverty line.Insecurity, covid19, unemployment, famine, drought and displacement has strained lives of the Afghans living in the country.