When 42 states and Washington, DC, implemented shelter-in-place orders in March and early April to help contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus, they may have prevented as many as 370,000 deaths by the middle of May, according to new research.
The study used models to examine Covid-19 death rates and hospitalizations during shelter-in-place-orders and evidence indicated they “helped reduce Covid-19 cases,” authors Wei Lyu and George L. Wehby said.
Not only did lockdowns help reduce coronavirus cases, the study found, but six weeks later, deaths were down by 6%.
“Projections suggest as many as 250,000 - 370,000 deaths possibly averted by May 15 in the 42 states plus the District of Columbia with statewide shelter-in-place orders,” the researchers wrote in the journal Health Affairs. They saw between 750,000 and 840,000 fewer hospitalizations in the 19 states with stay-at-home orders and public hospitalization data.
The lockdowns also helped reduce daily hospitalization rates by almost 8.5% in 19 states with the mandates, the analysis found.
“This evidence suggests that shelter-in-place orders have been effective in reducing the daily growth rates of COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations,” the study concluded.
There were 120,000 deaths and 320,000 hospitalizations from Covid-19 by the time the study was peer-reviewed, up from 83,000 deaths and 198,000 coronavirus hospitalizations as of May 15 when the study ended, Lyu and Wehby reported.
Previous studies have also concluded that stay-at-home and shelter-in-place mandates have helped reduce infections and deaths from Covid-19.