Lockdowns across the globe prevented millions of deaths from the novel coronavirus, a new study reports.
According to a study by the Imperial College of London, lockdowns and closing nonessential businesses and schools may have saved about 3 million lives in 11 countries — Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
A separate study in the United States concluded that lockdowns in China, France, Iran, Italy, South Korea, and the U.S. prevented another 530 million COVID-19 cases.
But the World Health Organization warned Monday that while the situation was improving in Europe, it is getting worse in other parts of the world.
“More than 100,000 cases have been reported in nine of the past 10 days. Yesterday, more than 136,000 cases were reported, the most in a single day so far,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
Tedros said 75% of the new cases are in 10 countries, mostly in Latin America and South Asia.
According to the latest figures from U.S.-based Johns Hopkins Institute, the total number of COVID-19 infections worldwide now stands at 7,111,454 people, with 406,540 confirmed deaths. The United States is the leader in both categories, with total infections at 1,961,185 and more than 111,000 confirmed deaths.
Following the United States with the most coronavirus infections is Brazil, with 707,412 confirmed cases as of Monday. The South American country’s 37,134 deaths is the world’s third-highest after the U.S. and Britain, which now stands at 40,680.
The government of Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has come under fire for manipulating the country’s official coronavirus data. The firestorm began last Friday after the health ministry took down a website that published the total number of deaths and infections and replaced it with a site that only published the latest casualties for the last 24 hours.
The controversy over the data deepened Sunday after the ministry released two different sets of data. The ministry issued a statement the next day saying the discrepancy was due to incorrect data supplied by local authorities.
Critics say the manipulated data is part of Bolsonaro’s dismissal of the pandemic as nothing more than “a little flu” and his disdain of quarantines and social distancing guidelines because of its impact on the Brazilian economy.