While acknowledging the difficulty of shelter-in-place orders, travel restrictions and business and school closures, a new
study published in the journal
found that such measures prevented at least 60 million coronavirus infections in the U.S. in the period from January through April 6 alone.
Although infection rates in Massachusetts continue to decline during a phased reopening plan, more than a dozen states are currently experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases after removing restrictions.
The authors—researchers from the University of California Berkeley—looked beyond the U.S. for this peer-reviewed study. They evaluated
1,717 policies implemented in China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, France and the U.S. during that time period. They found that these interventions averted approximately 530 million COVID-19 infections in the six nations.
“It’s as if the roof was about to fall in, but we caught it before it crushed everyone,” said lead author
Solomon Hsiang in a statement
. “It was difficult and exhausting, and we are still holding it up. But by coming together, we did something as a society that nobody could have done alone and which has never been done before.”