The US has been hit hardest by the COVID-19 outbreak, with it registering more than 644,000 cases and more than 28,000 deaths. Despite the US seeing the most cases and deaths, President Donald Trump has deflected criticism by blaming WHO for its response, withdrawing funding for the organisation.
However, a new study has revealed that if the US had implemented strict lockdown regulations just two weeks sooner, the number of deaths related to the coronavirus could be down by up to 90 percent.
Over the next four months, forecasters believe there may be up to 60,000 deaths in the US due to coronavirus.
But tens of thousands of these could have been prevented if authorities had acted sooner, according to Britta Jewell of Imperial College London and Nicholas Jewell of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
They wrote in a piece for the New York Times: “On March 16, the White House issued initial social distancing guidelines, including closing schools and avoiding groups of more than 10.
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“But an estimated 90 percent of the cumulative deaths in the United States from COVID-19, at least from the first wave of the epidemic, might have been prevented by putting social distancing policies into effect two weeks earlier, on March 2, when there were only 11 deaths in the entire country.
“The effect would have been substantial had the policies been imposed even one week earlier, on March 9, resulting in approximately a 60 percent reduction in deaths.
“To determine the impact of early interventions, we used growth rates in cumulative deaths calculated by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington from the date that social distancing measures were introduced until the predicted end of the epidemic, and applied them to case numbers from earlier points when such measures could hypothetically have been put into effect.”