Fresh Takes

Preparedness trumped lockdowns when it comes to saving lives in Europe


Yesterday, Bloomberg reported new data from Oxford University researchers who analyzed the severity of lockdown measures in place in European countries. Matched against the number of subsequent COVID-19 deaths, Bloomberg’s analysis concludes that lockdown measures had little effect on the number of people who died.

“The data show that the relative strictness of a country’s containment measures had little bearing on [excess mortality].” For example, “While Germany had milder restrictions than Italy, it has been much more successful in containing the virus.”

So if it is not the strictest lockdown measures that saved lives, what did?

“Early preparation, and plentiful health-care resources, were enough for several countries to avoid draconian lockdowns. Germany, with better testing and contact tracing and more intensive care units than its neighbors, could afford to keep the economy a bit more open. Greece, by acting quickly and surely, appears to have avoided the worst, so far.”

As scarce health care resources continue to be a concern in Canada, and especially in Quebec, perhaps lockdowns are trying to solve the wrong problem, at huge expense.

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