Lockdown 1 week earlier could have halved U.K.’s coronavirus death toll: scientist

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Britain’s death toll from COVID-19 could have been halved if lockdown was introduced a week earlier, a former member of the UK government’s scientific advisory group said on Wednesday.

Britain has an official death toll from confirmed COVID-19 cases of over 40,000, rising to over 50,000 cases when deaths from suspected cases are included.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced the lockdown on March 23.

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Epidemiologist Neil Ferguson told lawmakers that Britain had taken the right measures against the new coronavirus, but too late.

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“The epidemic was doubling every three to four days before lockdown interventions were introduced. So had we introduced lockdown measures a week earlier, we would have then reduced the final death toll by at least a half,” Ferguson said.

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“So whilst I think the measures … were warranted … certainly had we introduced them earlier, we would have seen many fewer deaths.”

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