Britain’s Covid pandemic death rate is much better than previously thought compared with the rest of the world, a Lancet study has shown.
Research by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in the US calculated the excess death rates for 191 countries and territories and found that the UK is now roughly in the middle at 102.
Previously, countries have been judged by death rates alone, which would place Britain at 168 – the 24th worst in the world. Critics of the Government’s pandemic response have often cited this figure as justification for calling for tougher Covid restrictions.
But Britain was found to have an excess death rate of 126.8 per 100,000, very close to France – which had 124.4 per 100,000 – and Germany, with 120.5 per 100,000.
Sweden, which did not lock down, was found to have one of the best excess death rates in Europe, with 91.2 per 100,000. Only Finland, Luxembourg and Iceland fared better.
A study evaluating COVID-19 responses around the world found that mandatory lockdown orders early in the pandemic may not provide significantly more benefits to slowing the spread of the disease than other voluntary measures, such as social distancing or travel reduction.
Background and Aims
The most restrictive non‐pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) for controlling the spread of COVID‐19 are mandatory stay‐at‐home and business closures. Given the consequences of these policies, it is important to assess their effects. We evaluate the effects on epidemic case growth of more restrictive NPIs (mrNPIs), above and beyond those of less restrictive NPIs (lrNPIs).
We first estimate COVID‐19 case growth in relation to any NPI implementation in subnational regions of 10 countries: England, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, and the US. Using first‐difference models with fixed effects, we isolate the effects of mrNPIs by subtracting the combined effects of lrNPIs and epidemic dynamics from all NPIs. We use case growth in Sweden and South Korea, two countries that did not implement mandatory stay‐at‐home and business closures, as comparison countries for the other 8 countries (16 total comparisons).
Implementing any NPIs was associated with significant reductions in case growth in 9 out of 10 study countries, including South Korea and Sweden that implemented only lrNPIs (Spain had a non‐significant effect). After subtracting the epidemic and lrNPI effects, we find no clear, significant beneficial effect of mrNPIs on case growth in any country. In France, e.g., the effect of mrNPIs was +7% (95CI ‐5%‐19%) when compared with Sweden, and +13% (‐12%‐38%) when compared with South Korea (positive means pro‐contagion). The 95% confidence intervals excluded 30% declines in all 16 comparisons and 15% declines in 11/16 comparisons.
While small benefits cannot be excluded, we do not find significant benefits on case growth of more restrictive NPIs. Similar reductions in case growth may be achievable with less restrictive interventions.
- Your immune system’s ‘memory’ T cells keep track of the viruses they have seen before.
- New study led by scientists at La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) shows that memory helper T cells that recognize common cold coronaviruses also recognize matching sites on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Having a strong T cell response, or a better T cell response may give you the opportunity to mount a much quicker and stronger response.
- 40%-60% of people never exposed to SARS-CoV-2 had T cells that reacted to the virus showing that their immune systems recognized the virus.
- This finding turned out to be a global phenomenon and was reported in people from the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom and Singapore.
- This discovery suggests that fighting off a common cold coronavirus can induce cross-reactive T cell memory against SARS-CoV-2.