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Professor John Gibson

Lockdowns only slightly postponed deaths in New Zealand

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The Level 4 lockdown imposed on March 25 2020 in New Zealand was the world’s most restrictive set of closure and containment policies at the time.

While designed to deal with Covid‐19, it was soon noted by public health academics that all‐cause mortality fell below historical rates about five weeks after the lockdown restrictions began. 

Deaths stayed below their week‐of‐the‐year averages for most of the next four months, avoiding the usual winter peak due especially to influenza.

This effect has been dubbed a “COVID‐19 response induced life gain” and some commentators argue that the tools used in 2020 against Covid could be used every year to deal with the winter peak in deaths due to influenza.

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