By Sam van de Schootbrugge 05-08-2020

Early Border Closures Can Control COVID-19 Caseloads

(5 min read)
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The Study in a Nutshell

The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic on 11 March 2020. Almost no country has avoided the virus and even fewer have escaped the economic fallout. In total, there are now over 18 million confirmed cases and 700,000 deaths worldwide. In June, the IMF projected a -4.9% fall in global growth in 2020, the largest outside of wartime.

Despite the far-reaching damage to both health and economic wellbeing, the pandemic’s impacts are significantly heterogeneous. There are variations in the scale of the outbreak, the magnitude of government responses, the timing of lockdowns and the management of healthcare systems. A research paper published in The Lancet on 21 July conducts a much-needed country-level analysis. It assesses the impact of timing and the type of national health policy/actions undertaken towards COVID-19 mortality and related health outcomes. It finds:

• Increased COVID-19 caseloads were significantly associated with:
1. Higher obesity
2. Higher median population age
3. Longer time to border closures from the first reported case
4. Fewer days to any full or partial lockdown

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