A STUDY published by investigators at London’s prestigious Imperial College estimates that Spain’s lockdown has saved 16,000 lives.
The college’s analysis looked at the 11 countries with the highest number of coronavirus cases up to March 28: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.
According to its calculations if the Spanish government had not declared the State of Alarm restrictions the country’s Covid-19 death toll would have reached some 24,000, significantly more than the nearly 8,200 registered by today, Tuesday.
The investigators concluded that in Italy social distancing has avoided approximately 38,000 deaths and 370 in the UK.
“This is of course a difficult moment for Europe, but the governments have taken significant measures to ensure that the health systems do not become overwhelmed. There is solid proof that they have started to work and that the curve has flattened,” commented report leader Samir Bhatt.
“We believe that a great number of lives have been saved.”
At the same time Bhatt warned that it is too soon to talk about the pandemic being under control, adding, “more difficult decisions will have to be taken in the coming weeks.”
Mathematics Department Statistics Department president, Professor Axel Gandy, echoed Bhatt’s views.
“The impact of the pandemic is extreme, but it would have been much worse without the measures,” he said.
“Maintaining them is crucial for controlling it.”
The Imperial College study also made the distinctly bleak estimation that somewhere between seven and 43 million people in the 11 European nations have coronavirus. This represents between 1.88 and 11.43 per cent of the population.
Looking specifically at Spain, the report authors believe 15 per cent of the population has Covid-19. Or to put it another way, this translates into just short of seven million people: a figure which is a very long way from the 94,417 diagnosed cases as of today.
The investigators attribute the huge difference in the numbers to the limited capacity for carrying out Covid-19 diagnostic tests and to many of the cases being mild or asymptomatic and therefore undetected.
The report identifies Spain as the European country with the widest difference in the figures, followed by Italy, where the authors believe there are 5.9 million cases, or 9.8 per cent of the population.
By complete contrast, just 0.72 per cent of Germans would test positive, or 600,000 people.
The figure for France is some two million, or 3 per cent of the population, while for the UK it is 1.79 million, or 2.7 per cent.
The Imperial College research was based on daily figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and focused on the average of new infections generated by each person with the virus.