(WSYR-TV) — From outpatient surgery centers to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, every day more places are reopening in Central New York.
As we look forward to getting back to a more normal life, we’re going to look at new estimates showing the tens of thousands of lives that might have been saved had we started social distancing a little sooner.
Researchers at Columbia University said if the United States had begun locking down cities and limiting social contact one week earlier in March, the number of deaths would have been closer to 30,000.
And if the country had begun imposing social distancing measures two weeks earlier, a vast majority of the nation’s deaths would have been avoided. There would have been around 11,000 lives lost.
The researchers came up with these estimates by looking at how reduced contact between people in mid-March slowed the spread of the virus.
They then modeled what would have happened if the same changes had taken place at the beginning of the month. That is when Italy and South Korea started aggressively responding to the virus.
And even though thousands of Americans already had coronavirus, a lack of widespread testing allowed those infections to go undetected, which hid the urgency of an outbreak that Americans still identified as a foreign threat.
The results show that as all 50 states reopen, outbreaks can easily get out of control unless officials closely monitor infections and immediately clamp down on new flare ups.
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