New data show that the delay in the introduction of strict quarantine in the United States cost at least 36 thousand lives.
Had the U.S. begun implementing strict quarantine measures one week earlier, the coronavirus outbreak would have killed at least 36,000 fewer people, Columbia University has estimated.
If quarantine had been imposed two weeks earlier, the vast majority of deaths in the country, about 83 percent, would have been prevented, researchers say. The authors generally found that even small differences in time would have prevented the worst exponential growth, which by April covered New York, New Orleans and other major cities.
In the New York area alone, 21,800 people had died by May 3. All models are estimates only, and it is impossible to know exactly how many people would have died, says Lauren Ancel Meyers, an epidemiologist at the University of Texas at Austin who was not involved in the study. But she also believes that earlier quarantine could have saved many lives.