Study Suggests Lockdowns Work Better For Rich Countries

Researchers suggest alternative methods.
by Paolo Chua for Esquiremag.ph   |  Apr 20, 2020
Image: Jerome Ascano
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It's been more than a month since President Duterte announced a lockdown in the country, and we're nearing the end of the (much-needed) extension that was given. Now, the question is: What comes next?

The Philippines' short trial of social distancing didn't work out at all. So, it's possible another extension could be put in place. New research reveals that low-income countries should rethink lockdowns. The study comes from Yale University's Zachary Barnett-Howell and Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, and was published in the Yale Research Initiative on Innovation and Scale.

"By limiting their ability to earn a living, social distancing can lead to an increase in hunger, deprivation, and related mortality and morbidity in poor countries. Flattening the epidemiological curve of COVID-19 to buy time until a vaccine can be developed may not be very useful for poor countries if the timeline for vaccine development is too long for social distancing to be maintained," the study says.

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Lockdowns are also counterproductive since workers tend to "reverse-migrate" from urban cities to rural areas—effectively spreading the disease across the nation. Rich nations, on the other hand, can bear the economic costs while saving a large number of lives.

Instead, the researchers point to alternative measures such as more masks and home-made face coverings, targeted social isolation of those at-risk, improved access to clean water, and campaigns on slowing the spread of COVID-19.

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This story originally appeared on Esquiremag.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Candymag.com editors.

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