Coronavirus lockdown could reduce final death toll to less than 6,000, experts predict

·2-min read
Staff prepare to load equipment into London Ambulance Service vehicles in the east car park at the ExCeL London exhibition centre in London on March 28, 2020, that is being transformed into a field hospital to be known as the NHS Nightingale Hospital to help with the novel coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. - Britain on March 24 said it will open a 4,000-bed field hospital at a London exhibition centre to treat coronavirus cases in the latest measure to tackle the outbreak after the government ordered a nationwide lockdown. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP) (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)
Experts predict that Britain will have fewer deaths as a result of coronavirus than originally predicted. (Picture: Glyn KIRK / AFP)

There could be far fewer deaths from coronavirus in the UK than originally predicted, experts have suggested.

Experts at Imperial College London used evidence on the effects of social distancing in China to model the number of predicted deaths as a result of the virus.

According to their new predictions, Britain is on course for around 5,700 deaths - significantly lower than the 260,000 once predicted - leading to them to suggest that the government’s strategy is working.

The modelling from Imperial College London suggests Britain's total deaths will be 5,700. (Picture: Imperial/MedRxiv)
The modelling from Imperial College London suggests Britain's total deaths will be 5,700. (Picture: Imperial/MedRxiv)

Author Tom Pike, from Imperial College, said: “Our work shows that social distancing is working against COVID-19 as an effective parachute across multiple countries.

“That’s no reason for us to cut away our parachutes when we’re still way above the ground.”

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The figures come after a modelling analysis put together by Imperial previously suggested that coronavirus would kill 260,000 people if Britain continued on a path of less-strict interventions, or just over half a million if nothing at all was done.

But the new research, which uses evidence from the effects of social distancing in China, suggests that the change in government strategy - which has now seen restaurants, bars and social settings closed and people ordered to stay home - is working.

It predicts that at its peak Britain will experience more than 250 deaths a day, with a total number of deaths for Britain put at 5,700.

The predicted numbers of deaths in Italy is put at 28,210 and Spain’s total death toll is predicted to be 46,310 by the models.

The report, published on medRxiv, said: “In general, this analysis suggests that early adoption of social distancing is more effective than delayed implementation, even of highly restrictive measures.”

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