Lockdowns and social-distancing measures aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus seem to have shortened the influenza season in the northern hemisphere by about six weeks, says a new study.
The research, published in the scientific journal Nature, says that "anti-contagion policies" had a significant effect on the number of coronavirus cases in each country.
"In the absence of policy actions, we estimate that early infections of COVID-19 exhibit exponential growth rates of roughly 38 [percent] per day," the study says. "We find that anti-contagion policies have significantly and substantially slowed this growth. Some policies have different impacts on different populations, but we obtain consistent evidence that the policy packages now deployed are achieving large, beneficial, and measurable health outcomes. We estimate that across these six countries, interventions prevented or delayed on the order of 62 million confirmed cases, corresponding to averting roughly 530 million total infections."
In addition to the approximately 60 million infections that were prevented in the U.S., the researchers found 285 million infections were prevented in China, 38 million were prevented in South Korea, 49 million were prevented in Italy, 54 million were prevented in Iran and 45 million were prevented in France.