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Sobering COVID-19 study prompted Britain to toughen its approach

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Sobering COVID-19 study prompted Britain to toughen its approach

By Kate Kelland

 

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A man walks by empty restaurants in Leicester Square as the number of coronavirus cases grow around the world, in London, Britain, March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

 

LONDON (Reuters) - A crucial projection study that helped convince the British government to impose more stringent measures to contain COVID-19 painted a worst case picture of hundreds of thousands of deaths and a health service overwhelmed with severely sick patients.

 

In a sharp toughening of Britain’s approach to the outbreak on Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson closed down social life in the world’s fifth largest economy and advised those over 70 with underlying health problems to isolate.

 

The modelling study, by a team led by Neil Ferguson, a professor of mathematical biology at Imperial College London, used new data gathered from Italy where the infectious disease epidemic has surged in recent weeks.

 

Comparing the potential impact of the COVID-19 disease epidemic with the devastating flu outbreak of 1918, Ferguson’s team said that with no mitigating measures at all, the outbreak could have caused more than half a million deaths in Britain and 2.2 million in the United States. [L8N2BA1MF]

 

Even with the government’s previous plan to control the outbreak - which involved home isolation of suspect cases but did not include restrictions on wider society - could have resulted in 250,000 people dying “and health systems ... being overwhelmed many times over,” the study said.

 

With the measures outlined - including extreme social distancing and advice to avoid clubs, pubs and theatres - the epidemic’s curve and peak could be flattened, the scientists said.

 

“This is going to place huge pressure on us as a society, and economically,” said Azra Ghani, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at Imperial who co-led the work with Ferguson.

 

Tim Colbourn, an expert in global health epidemiology at University College London said the projections in the study signalled “tough times ahead”.

 

“The results are sobering,” he said.

 

This study helped change the British government’s position, according to those involved with the decision. The government said it had accelerated its plans on “the advice of the experts” and that the new measures had always been “part of the government’s action plan”.

 

“We continue to follow the science and act on the advice of the experts, which is that we are bringing in these more substantial measures slightly faster than we originally planned,” the source said.

 

Johnson’s government had been criticised by some public health experts who were concerned that Britain was not acting fast or forcefully enough to contain the spread of COVID-19 while other countries such as Italy, Spain and France were taking far more draconian lock-down measures.

 

But Peter Piot, director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and a specialist in viruses and infectious disease epidemics, said Britain’s approach “is solidly evidence-informed” and “strikes a sound balance between managing the current public health crisis as well as the multiple and complex societal implications.”

 

“In this unprecedented pandemic, caused by a virus we still know so little about, there is no one size fits all approach to controlling it,” Piot said. “We should be open to adapt the response to an ever changing epidemic, and to rapidly evolving scientific understanding.”

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-03-17
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If this prevents exponential spread of the virus then it is written.

 

 

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When SARS hit the scene several years ago a friend thought that one third of the world,s population was going to be wiped out, yet I don,t even know anyone who knows anyone who died from it ! Obviously a case where reality did not meet up with mathematical forecasts 😞

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Shocking number. That is a forecast for possibly more lives lost than in every war America has been in since it was formed.

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4 minutes ago, lannarebirth said:

Shocking number. That is a forecast for possibly more lives lost than in every war America has been in since it was formed.

That depends on which lives lost you are counting.

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My sister & her husband in the UK, are under 12 week lockdown starting this weekend.

 

No human contact, cannot see the grandchildren.

 

Food/supplies by home delivery only.

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1 minute ago, Chomper Higgot said:

That depends on which lives lost you are counting.

True. I was referring to American lives lost.

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5 minutes ago, Krataiboy said:

Sobering COVID-19 study prompted Britain to toughen its approach

 

". . . hundreds of thousands of deaths and a health service overwhelmed with severely sick patients"

 

Sounds more like something dreamed up by a drunk.

or some mad doctor who spent all his time down in the lab, and then woke up

image.jpeg.bdb7606cce6b8b31df6c05bc4b44fc77.jpeg 

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3 hours ago, faraday said:

My sister & her husband in the UK, are under 12 week lockdown starting this weekend.

 

 

Why ?? 

Have they been told they are not allowed out their house for 12 weeks ?? 

Not seen any thing about compulsory 3 month lock downs !!

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1 hour ago, cornishcarlos said:

 

Why ?? 

Have they been told they are not allowed out their house for 12 weeks ?? 

Not seen any thing about compulsory 3 month lock downs !!

In their 70's

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panic.PNG.5719c2899cef660c881452de968c2756.PNG

 

Total deaths from all the above combined...apporx 25,000. While this virus is worse...it's certainly not The Black Death or Spanish Flu (not even close) and won't be. And even if it impossibly was...odds would still in your favor! The world needs to take a deep breath and CALM DOWN. The vast majority of cases (appox 75-80%) are not severe and most severe cases are those already ill. 

 

https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/mar/13/viral-image/are-80-percent-coronavirus-cases-mild/

 

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If we carry on, and just hope it goes away, sooner or later almost everyone is going to be exposed to the disease sooner or later, and it looks like 2 - 4% of them will die.  So that's what, a few tens of million worldwide?  I think it's probably worth trying to contain the spread of the disease by desperate measures, but maybe other people's lives are not so important to you.

 

I expect that before the end of the year there will be strict travel restrictions soon between countries that have contained the virus, and effectively eliminated it, and countries where they have not, and it is endemic.

 

SC

 

EDIT: Closing all the pubs is a sobering thought, but I popped down to the non-halal grocer for a solution.  Strictly speaking, a case of a solution.

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1 hour ago, Skeptic7 said:

panic.PNG.5719c2899cef660c881452de968c2756.PNG

 

Total deaths from all the above combined...apporx 25,000. While this virus is worse...it's certainly not The Black Death or Spanish Flu (not even close) and won't be. And even if it impossibly was...odds would still in your favor! The world needs to take a deep breath and CALM DOWN. The vast majority of cases (appox 75-80%) are not severe and most severe cases are those already ill. 

 

https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/mar/13/viral-image/are-80-percent-coronavirus-cases-mild/

 

 

 So , who stands to gain from this media fuelled virus panic ?.

Apart from the pharmaceutical industry...

 

 

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