Warning about the risk of a second wave in Europe

Galarraga Aiestaran, Ana

Elhuyar Zientzia

A person down the street, in Uribe Kosta. Ed. Hodei Torres/Hiruka CC4.0

Measures taken in eleven European countries to reduce the impact of the pandemic have prevented the deaths of 3.1 million people. To this conclusion, researchers from Imperial College (London) have arrived, based on data from the following countries: France, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

The study has been published in the journal Nature. It is explained that to calculate the degree of infection they have been based on the official number of deaths and not on the reproduction number (Rt). This number measures the number of infected people, but since there are not many cases, it is not necessary. That is why they have relied on the dead.

Thus, it has been estimated that the SARS-CoV-2 virus infected 12-15 million people in that period (3.2-4% of the population) and that if non-pharmacological measures had not been adopted such as the closure of schools, physical distancing and, above all, confinement, there would have been much more epidemic and 3.1 million deaths than have occurred.

At the University of California, Berkeley, a similar research has been conducted with data from six international countries: China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, France and the USA. Econometric methods have allowed us to conclude that 530 million infections have been avoided in these six countries thanks to the measures adopted. This research, which has also been published in the journal Nature, helps researchers see what measures have been most effective and how to act in other countries.

Both research has shown that non-pharmaceutical measures are effective in stopping the transmission of the virus. At the same time, it has been shown that group immunity is far away. This is confirmed by serological studies. Jacqui Wis warns, in the British Medical Journal, of the risk of a second wave in Europe.

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