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Detox. Containment saved more than “one life every 8 minutes”

The starting point for this figure is a study by the Imperial College of London, published in late March. The study concluded that without the containment put in place on March 17, the epidemic would have left 2,500 more people dead in France as of March 31. Confinement therefore saved 2,500 lives in 14 days. Or 180 lives a day. One life every eight minutes.

But bringing up this statistic several weeks after the study, as if it were a general truth, makes no sense. To calculate the number of lives saved between March 17 and March 31, the Imperial College imagines what the outcome of the epidemic would have been every day if it had spread freely. Contaminating more people every day, causing more deaths every day, exponentially.

If we wanted to know today the number of lives saved thanks to containment, we would have to imagine the number of deaths that the epidemic would have resulted since March 17 if there had been no brake. It would no longer be only a few thousand deaths, as at the end of March, when the epidemic was only at its beginning, but tens of thousands, due to the dynamics of spread. And we would deduce from this that the containment put in place on March 17 saved a lot more than one life every eight minutes.

Hence the paradox of this Macron error: by using a statistic that only had value on March 31, it actually minimizes the benefits of the confinement that it is trying to boast about.

Find Detox at 1 p.m. on Arte.
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