Orders to stay home during this pandemic were put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 and a new study suggests those measures worked. The study suggests if we hadn't stayed home, closed schools, restricted travel and stayed socially distanced from the beginning of the pandemic through early April, there would be about 60 million more coronavirus infections nationwide.
The research is published in the scientific journal Nature and used a modeling technique typically used for estimating economic growth. The study period ended on April 6, but keeping shutdown orders in place after that time has likely led to even more coronavirus infections being avoided, according to the study's lead author.
The study includes data on daily infection rates, changes in coronavirus case definitions and timing of large scale shutdown policies. It did have some limitations, including that available data on infections and measures across the countries studied, were limited and researchers could only suggest estimations about what could have happened.
Another study published in the same journal examined COVID-19 deaths across 11 counties in Europe. It estimates lockdown orders and school closures may have averted over three million deaths through early May. That study also had limitations, including that deaths attributable to COVID-19 early on in the pandemic could have been missed in the data.