How the Great Lockdown Saved Lives

By Pragyan Deb, Davide Furceri, Jonathan D. Ostry and Nour Tawk عربي, 中文, Español, Français, 日本語, Português, Русский  Since the COVID-19 outbreak was first reported in Wuhan, China in late December 2019, the disease has spread to more than 200 countries and territories. In the absence of a vaccine or effective treatment, governments worldwide have responded by implementing unprecedented containment and mitigation measures—the Great Lockdown. This in turn has resulted in large short-term economic losses, and a decline in global economic activity not seen since the Great Depression. Did it work? The Great Lockdown, despite its enormous short-term economic costs, has saved hundreds of thousands of lives. Our analysis, based on a global sample, suggests that containment measures, by reducing mobility, have been very effective in flattening the “pandemic curve.” For example, the stringent containment measures put in place in New Zealand—restrictions on gatherings and public events implemented when cases were in single digits, followed by school and workplace closings as well as stay-at-home orders just a few days later—are likely to have reduced the number of fatalities by over 90 percent relative to a baseline with no containment measures. In other words, the results suggest that, in a country like New Zealand, the number of confirmed … Continue reading How the Great Lockdown Saved Lives