Preprint Concept Paper Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Covid 19: Did Preventive Restrictions Work?

Version 1 : Received: 9 April 2021 / Approved: 12 April 2021 / Online: 12 April 2021 (12:23:56 CEST)

How to cite: Kharate, R.; Watve, M. Covid 19: Did Preventive Restrictions Work?. Preprints 2021, 2021040286. Kharate, R.; Watve, M. Covid 19: Did Preventive Restrictions Work?. Preprints 2021, 2021040286.


In the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, if a preventive restriction (PR), intended to arrest the transmission of the virus, is effective we expect a decrease in the rate of transmission. If an effective PR is lifted or relaxed, the rate may show some increase. We test this expectation in the history of PR imposition and relaxation in all countries based on available public database. We found marginal or no negative correlation between standing stringency index of PR and change in slope of the local curve. A change in stringency index was significantly negatively correlated with change in slope, but change in stringency of PRs could explain only 6.1 percent of the variance in rates of transmission. The distribution of slope changes after imposing versus after relaxing PRs was highly overlapping with only a tail consisting of 4.5 % PR impositions being clearly non-overlapping with PR relaxation. Non-parametrically, only 9.4% of PR impositions were associated with a reduction in the slope above the expectation of a null hypothesis. In brief, globally, preventive restrictions have played a very small role in the pandemic process over the one year period. This feedback needs to be considered in making policy for disease prevention in the further course of the pandemic as well as in any future threats of respiratory disease epidemics.


Covid-19; lockdown; preventive restriction; rate of transmission; public health policy


Medicine and Pharmacology, Immunology and Allergy

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