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Study suggests that lockdowns fare better economically than the alternative

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A recent study claims of revealing a positive association between the gravity of the city lockdowns during the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918 and their consecutive economic recovery. 

The paper, penned down by the economists from Federal Reserve as well as the MIT, evaluates the influence of the Spanish flu pandemic as well as the non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) upon the actual economic activity. 

The NPI is the measures which involve social distancing, closure of non-essential organizations as well as urging the people to stay safe at home. 

The study authors discovered that the 1918 pandemic had a massive effect on the economic activity, regardless of the lockdowns because the people feared heading out as well as change their working and spending habits. Moreover, they also discovered that the towns with more stringent or faster lockdown didn’t witness worse economic downfalls following the flu pandemic. 

However, on the contrary, evidence related to the bank assets and manufacturing activity suggests that there was a better economic performance in regions with more intense NPIs post the pandemic, wrote the authors.

The study provides many caveats to the discovery, with the first one being that the economic situation of the US in 1918 was very different overall than what it is presently, as the nation was just recovering from World War 1. Moreover, the complex modern worldwide supply chains and enhancements in communication tech are factors that couldn’t be captured in the study. However, these are significant aspects of understanding the macroeconomic impact of COVID-19, said the authors.

Besides, cities that responded much faster in the 1918 pandemic were from farther west and were aware of the impact the outbreak caused on the East Coast. 

Altogether, the evidence revealed by the study implies that the pandemics are incredibly disruptive for the economic activity, said the authors. 

However, taking timely measures that mitigate the harmful effects of the pandemic might also help lower the harsh impact on the persistent downfall in the economy. That is, the NPIs can help decrease the death rate and can also be economically beneficial concurrently, continued the authors. 

Manufacturing employment boosted by 6.5% in the cities which imposed regulations for further 50 days post the pandemic arrived, as per the study. 

The authors of the study seem to be contradicting the claims which are made by US President Donald Trump as well as many other Republicans who doubt that the cure might not be good than the infection and that measures should be discovered to restart the economy while attempting to contain COVID-19.

Jordan Crook is a Managing Editor based out of Brooklyn, NY. She writes about internet culture, social networks, and consumer-facing technology. Jordan leads programming on ELISA Kit News's flagship event, the world-renowned Disrupt conference. You may recognize her from her appearances hosting that event and moderating panels and fireside chats. She has written for publications such as Mobile Marketer and MobileBurn. She is now a Managing Editor at ELISA Kit News. Contact Email: jordan@elisakitnews.net Twitter: https://twitter.com/jordanrcrook Phone: 720.213.5824

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Coronavirus resurgence is likely in 2024, says a Harvard study

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Social distancing might be needed until the year 2022 to avoid critical healthcare capacities from getting exceeded, says a new study from Harvard University, as more COVID-19 patients get hospitalized in the ICUs.

Even in case of apparent elimination, there is a need to maintain SARS-CoV-2 surveillance as a resurgence might be possible by the year 2024, say the researchers of the study.

There is an urgent need to take appropriate measures to tackle the present pandemic. Pharmaceutical treatments and vaccines might need months or years to create and test, said the researchers with the sole way to combat the disease being non-pharmaceutical developments. 

As per the researchers, SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that is causing the fatal disease, has the power to produce a considerable outbreak regardless of what season it is. 

The findings of the study showed that the outbreaks established during winter-spring, such as the one causing the present coronavirus pandemic, generally have low peaks. Meanwhile, the ones occurring during autumn-winter are more acute, said the researchers. 

It is still being learned whether individuals who once contract the disease would be immune to coronavirus permanently. If the immunity to stay protected from the virus isn’t permanent, it’s likely to enter in the regular circulation, just like the flu pandemic, as per the study.

The COVID-19 mortality rate, as of Wednesday, stands at 6.4 percent, with almost 127,000 deaths of about 2 million confirmed cases. Comparatively, the flu mortality rate in the country stood at 0.096 percent during the 2018-19 seasons, as per the CDC, being almost 67 times lesser than coronavirus. 

A study published by the CDC in the year 2006 estimates mortality of Spanish flu to stand at 10 to 20 percent. Lary Brilliant, an epidemiologist who worked along with the WHO to help eliminate smallpox, said in March that mortality rate was 2 to 10 percent during the 1918-19 pandemic. 

As per the researchers from Harvard, even if the SARS-CoV-2 immunity would last only for 2 years, moderate, 30 percent immunity from the other strands of coronavirus which generally cause cold might eliminate its transfer up till 3 years effectively.  

Even in the event of the virus appearing to have died down, say the researchers, a resurgence is still likely in the year 2024. As per the researchers, a long-standing immunity, which can be attained by vaccination, can possibly result in the elimination of coronavirus. 

The Harvard study appears in the journal Science.

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New York to begin reporting probable deaths due to coronavirus to CDC

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On Wednesday, the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, said that the US state would start reporting probable deaths due to coronavirus to the CDC as the country struggles on how to count the increasing mortality rate while there’s still minimal testing. 

In his statement, Cuomo said that New York would rationalize these new reporting guidelines with the local governments as well as get that data out as quickly as possible. 

Besides, the state would get in touch with the nursing facilities and homes as well to learn whether any other individuals lost their lives due to coronavirus, but weren’t in nursing homes or hospitals necessarily at that time, said Cuomo.

Cuomo believes that there might be additional individuals who have died and were not included in the death count as they were not hospitalized, so the new measure will go through that. 

As of Wednesday, there were over 213,000 known coronavirus positive cases in New York, with over 11,500 confirmed death cases. However, that doesn’t include several probable deaths that NYC began reporting during this week. 

On Tuesday, the city reported over 111,400 known positive coronavirus cases, with around 6,840 known death cases and about 4,059 probable death cases. 

Bill de Blasio, the Mayor of NYC on Wednesday, said that he believes reporting the no. of probable coronavirus deaths was significant to showcase the sheer totality and bigger reality of the pandemic. 

The city has also released data that shows there were around 8,184 death cases from 11 March to 13 April, which weren’t known as probable or confirmed cases. 

When asked about the figures on Wednesday, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, the NYC Health Department’s commissioner, said the sad reality is there’ve been individuals who have lost lives directly or indirectly due to coronavirus. 

Barbot said it was essential to compare the over 8,000 deaths with the no. of deaths recorded through the same time the previous year. She said that only time could tell what those no. really meant. For instance, a few deaths could have been recorded as being caused due to heart strokes as people hadn’t yet developed the symptoms of coronavirus when they otherwise should’ve been counted as apparent coronavirus victims, said Barbot.

On Tuesday, Barbot, in a statement made to NBC News related to probable death count, said that the state is now focused on making sure that each New York resident who passed away due to coronavirus gets counted. 

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Taste and smell loss is associated with coronavirus, says a new UC San Diego health study

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The loss of taste and smell so far has just anecdotally been associated with coronavirus so far, but a new study reveals the first-ever correlation between the disease and sensory loss. 

The study, conducted by the researchers from UC San Diego Health, shows that individuals who have taste and smell loss had their chances of contracting coronavirus increased by ten times. 

The findings of the study support the need to stay aware of the taste and smell loss as early symptoms of the virus, said the researchers. These conclusions were based upon the patients who weren’t hospitalized for coronavirus. 

Fever continues to remain the first symptom of COVID-19, but the loss of taste and smell, as well as fatigue, also followed as the initial symptoms often. 

As per otolaryngologist, Carol Yan from the UC San Diego Health, majority individuals were experiencing improvements within 2 to 3 weeks, and that is hugely reassuring for every one of those who have taste and smell loss. 

Ken Ramirez from Ranco Penasquitos, who had lost all sense of taste and smell, is recovering steadily from the disease. He says that his experience supports the study findings and that the information is extremely useful for those who are witnessing similar symptoms. If anything like this happens to anyone, they should realize that it is unique to coronavirus, said Ramirez.

For the study, the researchers from UC San Diego Health involved 1,480 patients who had symptoms similar to flu as well as concerns regarding possible coronavirus infection. They underwent testing at the health system starting from 3rd March till 29th March. Of the volunteers who participated, 102 tested positive for coronavirus, while 1,378 participants tested negative.  

As per a media release issued by the UC San Diego Health, the study involved responses from 203 coronavirus negative patients and 59 coronavirus positive patients. It discovered that 68 percent of the 59 patients reported taste loss while 17 percent of the 203 patients reported taste loss and 16 percent reported smell loss. 

The researchers also discovered that the patients who said they had sore throat tested coronavirus negative often. 

Dr. Yan hopes that the study will pose a worldwide impact and will promote further research on taste and smell loss. She is also hopeful that it will raise awareness so that sensory impairment gets included as a regular screening measure. 

The study appears in the medical journal Forum of Allergy and Rhinology. 

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