The lockdown of Europe amid the coronavirus crisis has saved more than three million lives, researchers have reported.

Lockdown in Central London, Piccadilly Circus we may not see again ©Wayne Howes

Piccadilly Circus during lockdown
28 Apr 2020
Credit: Wayne Howes/Cover Images

A team of researchers at Imperial College London have found that the strict restrictions imposed in countries back in February and March had a significant effect on the spread of the Covid-19 virus, with more than 470,000 deaths averted in the U.K. alone.

Lockdown reduced the number of people that contagious individuals infected by 81 per cent, and the virus reproduction figure, called the R number, has been slashed from 3.8 to 0.63, as countries prepare to ease out of lockdown restrictions.

The team analysed data on Covid-19 deaths from 11 countries in Europe, including the U.K., Italy, France, Spain, and Germany, and calculated the extent of the transmission of the virus by working backwards from May to the end of March.

They estimated 3.2 million people – including 470,000 in the U.K., 690,000 in France, and 630,000 in Italy – would have died by 4 May if measures, including closing businesses, schools, and telling people to work from home, hadn’t been imposed.

And while the experts predicted the “death toll would have been huge” without lockdown, they insisted that only a small proportion of people had been infected as it was only “at the beginning of the pandemic”, and herd immunity wouldn’t be achieved for a long time.

“Our model estimates that we are very far away from herd immunity,” said co-author Professor Axel Gandy. “It tells us we need to be very careful and not to release too much in one go because then you have no control.

“We need to tread very carefully and do things slowly, so we can backtrack should they not work,” he added.

The study was published in the journal Nature.

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Text © Cover Media

Picture credits:

Featuring: Piccadilly Circus
Where: London, United Kingdom
When: 28 Apr 2020
Credit: Wayne Howes/Cover Images

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These photos show Central London as it’s never seen before, and may not be seen again in our lifetime.

Photographer Wayne Howes has spent the past eight weeks scouring the city capturing a desolate London due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the picture series, which Howes is hoping to turn into a book as a reference for future generations, he has captured the vast emptiness that has become London during the Coronavirus outbreak.

“The collection of images has an eerie, almost post-apocalyptic feel about them’ explains Howes.

‘Large historic buildings still obviously dominate the streets of London, but the normal hustle and bustle of London life is conspicuously absent.’

Images show popular tourist hot spots that would usually be bustling in the run up to summer now completely empty.

One photo shows Regent Street, which is usually busy at any time of day, but now at 9am appears abandoned.

“At rush hour on a Monday morning it can take you half an hour to drive down Regent Street, it took me 30 seconds!’ says Howes.

A day where the gates of Buckingham Palace aren’t lined with tourists and Royal fans taking photos is extremely rare, but Howes has captured the palace standing completely alone without a person in sight.

Howes has set up a Kickstarter to fund his hope of creating a book to document this period in time for future generations – what a thriving capital city can look like when placed in lockdown, a million miles away from it’s usual self.

London in Lockdown can be supported on Kickstarter via http://kck.st/3fenbT8