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How effective is a hard lockdown against the COVID epidemics? Perhaps not so much

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These data are taken from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) of the University of Washington. It is not the complete data set, only Western Europe and the US. The data are ordered by the projected number of deaths per million inhabitants. In addition, I built a "lockdown score," also based on the data reported by IHME (except for the US, where different states chose different options). It would be difficult to say that these data support the idea that a "hard" lockdown that includes a stay home order is more effective than a looser kind of lockdown. (for a live version of the table, write to me at ugo.bardi(whirlette)unifi.it)Your friend has a headache. She takes a pill and, after a while, she feels much better. And she is sure that it was because of ot the pill. Maybe, but how does she know that the headache didn't go away by itself? Was the pill a homeopathic medicine? In this case, you could tell her that she ingested pure sugar, unlikely to cure anything. But, if you ever tried something like that, you know that it is nearly impossible to un-convince someone who believes to have been healed by the miraculous powers of homeopathy or the like. It is a typical problem of medical studies: how do you know that a treatment is effective? That's why there exist precise rules defining how you can test a new drug or treatment.Now, let's go to the coronavirus epidemic: practically every region in the world has been affected and practically every government has implemented some kind of rules to stop the epidemic from diffusion, from voluntary social distancing (Sweden) to stay home orders enforced by the police. Almost everywhere, most people are convinced that the lockdown has been effective in reducing the spread of the epidemics. Maybe, but how can we say? Not having a "blank experiment" to compare with, it might be argued that all these new rules are the equivalent of homeopathic pills: a little sugar and nothing else.Right now, the data are scant. . .

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News source: Cassandra's Legacy

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