More than one third of world population are under lockdown. Still corona infection continues to rise, raising doubts in many about the impact of such isolations.
However, studies regarding the Spanish flu which killed over 50 million during 1918-20 showed that lockdowns do have positive impact in lowering mortality and also infection.
Stefan E. Pambuccian, MD, professor and vice chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, has reviewed made an analysis of the available data and papers.
It was found that cities that adopted early, broad isolation and prevention measures — closing of schools and churches, banning of mass gatherings, mandated mask wearing, case isolation and disinfection/hygiene measures — had lower disease and mortality rates. These cities included San Francisco, St. Louis, Milwaukee and Kansas City, which collectively had 30% to 50% lower disease and mortality rates than cities that enacted fewer and later restrictions, according to the data.
Another paper said these cities also had greater delays in reaching peak mortality, and the duration of these measures correlated with a reduced total mortality burden.
“The stricter the isolation policies, the lower the mortality rate,” says Dr. Pambuccian who studied the Spanish flu, including prevention measures and outcomes.
An estimated 675,000 people died in the U.S. from the Spanish flu, “and there was skepticism that these policies were actually working,” says Dr. Pambuccian. “But they obviously did make a difference.”
“Although the world is a much different place than it was 100 years ago, the efficacy of the measures instituted during the 1918-19 pandemic gives us hope that the current measures will also limit the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.