Study says earlier lockdown measures could have saved thousands of lives

The vast majority of coronavirus deaths in the US could have been avoided if lockdowns and social distancing efforts were implemented just two weeks earlier, new research shows.

An estimate by disease modelers at Columbia University said that the death toll would have been 11,253 on May 3 if the stay-at-home measures had been imposed on March 1. The actual fatality rate was 65,307.

The data was first reported by The New York Times on Wednesday night.

The numbers concluded that installing the lockdown restrictions two weeks earlier could have resulted in 54,000 fewer deaths by early May.

In the New York metro area alone, 4,300 lives would have been spared had the restrictions been put in a place a week earlier, on March 8, and been imposed nationwide, according to the estimates.

Mayor Bill de Blasio closed city schools on March 15. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s stay-at-home order didn’t take effect until March 22.

The findings are based on infectious disease modeling looking at how reduced contact between people starting in mid-March slowed the spread of the virus. All models are only estimates.

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