June 2020: Edmond J. Safra fellows: Social-distancing and COVID-19 death rates

A new study from the Life Science Faculty used daily mobility reports to show that response time was critical for reducing COVID-19 related mortality rates, but similar death tolls could have been obtained with a less extreme lockdown.

June 2020: Edmond J. Safra fellows: Social-distancing and COVID-19 death rates

A new study from the Life Science Faculty used daily mobility reports to show that response time was critical for reducing COVID-19 related mortality rates, but similar death tolls could have been obtained with a less extreme lockdown.

 

Upon the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple Inc. started publishing daily reports on nation-wide and regional mobility based on iPhone usage. The researchers used these data to quantify social distancing in countries across the world. The researchers show that 62% of the COVID-19 related mortality is explained by the time the countries entered lockdown, or any other form of social distancing that reduced mobility. Nevertheless, the lockdown strictness and its duration did not turn out to be important factors.

 

The authors conclude that the time Israel reacted was important, regardless of the dramatic regulations. A similar death toll would have been reached without the extreme socioeconomic repercussions we experience. These findings may be taken into consideration upon entering a "second wave”.

 

The study was led by PhD students, Gil Loewenthal, Oren Avram, Natan Nagar and another student Noa Acker (Pupko lab, LS), Shiran Abadi and Keren Halabi (Mayrose lab, LS). Loewenthal, Avram, Nagar, Abadi and Halabi are Edmond J. Safra PhD Fellows.

 

The study has not been peer reviewed yet. A preprint is available here.

 

 

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