Paul R. Hunter, Felipe J. Colón-González, Julii Brainard, Steven Rushton: Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions against COVID-19 in Europe: A quasi-experimental study, in: medRxiv, July 2020, doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.05.01.20088260.
The current COVID-19 epidemic is unparalleled in recent history as are the social distancing interventions that have led to a significant halt on the economic and social life of so many countries. However, there is very little empirical evidence about which social distancing measures have the most impact. The authors report a quasi-experimental study of the impact of various interventions for control of the outbreak.
Data on case numbers and deaths were taken from the daily published figures by the European Centre for Disease Control and dates of initiation of various control strategies from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation website and published sources. The authors’ complementary analyses were modelled in R using Bayesian generalised additive mixed models (GAMM) and in Stata using multi-level mixed effects regression models. From both sets of modelling, they found that closure of education facilities, prohibiting mass gatherings and closure of some non-essential businesses were associated with reduced incidence whereas stay at home orders and closure of all non-businesses was not associated with any independent additional impact. According to the Authors, their results could help inform strategies for coming out of lockdown.