Long, scary and painful: Covid-19 treatment lasts almost a month
Compulsory quarantine and other restrictive measures introduced in almost all European countries have already helped reduce the potential number of coronavirus victims by almost 60 thousand people. Perhaps by the end of March they managed to save even twice as many lives. Writes about this with the BBC.
This conclusion was reached by a team of scientists at Imperial College London in their latest study, published in the journal Nature.
And we are talking only about 11 countries of Western Europe. On a pan-European and especially global scale, we are talking about hundreds of thousands of people who could die if not for the measures taken to contain the pandemic.
On the same day, another important publication appeared in the magazine Lancet. It provides new, most accurate data to date on the course of the disease and not very optimistic statistics are presented.
In particular, the authors of the article calculated that on average almost 19 weeks pass from the onset of the first symptoms of Covid-3,5 to full recovery.
“Reason for optimism”
In a previous study of March 26, Imperial College scientists claimed that without any containment measures, the Covid-19 pandemic was supposed to reach almost every inhabitant of the planet and infect nearly 7 billion people.
The death toll from coronavirus in this scenario would be about 40 million.
However, having studied the latest data on the number of patients and deaths in 11 countries of Western Europe - including Italy, Spain, France and the UK - scientists came to the conclusion that the epidemic has slowed by almost two-thirds.
In some places, it even began to decline, that is, the level of reproduction of the virus (the number of healthy people, on average, each infected person infects) fell below 1.
As a result, about 59 thousand people who otherwise would have died from the coronavirus by the end of March have already been saved in Europe. The minimum number of saved lives is estimated at 21 thousand, the maximum - at 120 thousand.
The authors of the report argue that this was made possible through the adoption of strict restrictive measures: the closure of schools, the prohibition of public gatherings, the restriction of public transport and the movement of people in general, the introduction of mandatory quarantine and self-isolation, etc.
The work emphasizes separately that it is not yet possible to establish which particular restrictions had the greatest impact on the recession. However, in the aggregate, the measures taken continue to give a completely obvious result.
Even in Italy, where the death toll from Covid-19 is already approaching 12 thousand, without restrictive measures there would have been almost 50 thousand victims, estimates say.
However, the authors of the article note, due to the long incubation period of the disease in most countries, the effect of the restrictive measures taken can be fully appreciated only after a few weeks.
However, if the current trend is maintained, we have reason for optimism, scientists conclude.
Three weeks before discharge, two weeks to the grave
The coronavirus pandemic has been developing so recently and so rapidly that the vast majority of scientific publications on this subject are based on rather fragmented and insufficiently representative information.
We do not know enough about the virus itself and about the disease it causes: how it proceeds, how long it continues, what complications it faces and for which categories of people it is the most dangerous.
A study published in the journal Lancet actually provides the first reliable data that answers some of these questions.
The authors carefully studied several thousand case histories of patients (from China and another 37 countries) who either recovered and were discharged from the hospital, or supplemented the statistics of coronavirus victims.
The average period from the onset of the first symptoms of Covid-19 to death is almost 18 days. Almost 25 days before recovery, that is, three and a half weeks.
Given these data, it becomes more clear why more than 800 thousand cases of coronavirus were confirmed in three months of the epidemic, but only 170 thousand patients recovered and 40 thousand died.
The remaining almost 600 thousand infected are still ill, as they fell ill over the past three weeks. On March 10, less than 120 thousand cases of the disease were recorded in the world.
Another important indicator cited in the work is the specified mortality rate. In China, as well as on average throughout the world, less than 1,5% of infected people died of coronavirus - this is below the estimated estimates of most other studies.
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