Social distancing and stay-at-home measures instituted across the country may have saved hundreds of thousands of lives, according to the findings of one study.
Researchers at the Urban Health Collaborative at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University sought to find out how many lives were affected in a positive way due to social distancing rules that were implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the nation’s 30 highest populated cities. According to their findings, stay-at-home orders (versus taking a course of having done nothing at all) likely prevented an additional 232,878 deaths within the combined populations of those jurisdictions.
In addition to the total number of deaths that were likely prevented, stay-at-home orders also likely resulted in 2.1 million fewer coronavirus-related hospital visits as well.
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Jennifer Kolker, associate dean for public health practice at the Dornsife School, said her team’s goal in conducting the research was in part to demonstrate to Americans that their actions over the past several weeks resulted in significant outcomes.
“What we really wanted to do was to say this matters. Doing nothing is, in fact, doing something,” Kolker explained. “We really wanted to give city leaders the opportunity to say to their residents and their jurisdictions, ‘Hey folks, look what you did, you saved lives, you kept people out of the hospital.'”
As of Monday afternoon, more than 91,000 deaths from coronavirus have been recorded in the United States. According to estimates from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, a model often cited by the White House, it’s believed that close to 147,040 Americans have died or will die, cumulatively, from the disease by August.
That number could have been lower, according to a pair of epidemiologist researchers, had President Donald Trump acted just one week earlier in urging the nation to implement strict social distancing standards. According to that research, as much as 60 percent of the deaths that have occurred from COVID-19 could have been averted.
Accordingly, due to the findings of that model, documentary filmmaker and activist Eugene Jarecki created the Trump Death Clock, which documents how many deaths are perhaps directly attributable to Trump’s initial inaction. As of 3:30 pm Eastern Time, the Trump Death Clock said more than 54,000 Americans died because Trump waited too long to act.
Those epidemiologists — Britta Jewell, a research fellow in the department of infectious disease epidemiology at Imperial College, London, and Nicholas Jewell, professor of Biostatistics and Statistics at UC Berkeley — stated in their research that March 9 was the date by which Trump should have acted to prevent those deaths.
Instead, on that date, Trump was still lambasting those who had been critical of his response to coronavirus in the U.S. up to that point. “The Fake News Media and their partner, the Democrat Party, is doing everything within its semi-considerable power (it used to be greater!) to inflame the CoronaVirus situation, far beyond what the facts would warrant,” Trump tweeted on that date.