Pause to Save Lives may have prevented thousands of deaths in Michigan, U-M researchers say

Posted at 2:53 PM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 14:54:33-05

(WXYZ) — Increased COVID-19 restrictions over the holidays after the Pause to Save Lives might have prevented more than 100,000 COVID-19 cases in Michigan, according to preliminary findings by the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

Researchers said the measure potentially avoided thousands of deaths.

“Our modeling suggests that the state’s social distancing measures, although challenging for Michiganders, prevented illness and deaths, providing some relief to our already stretched health care system,” said associate professor Marisa Eisenberg in a news release. Eisenberg has been working with the state of Michigan since the beginning of the pandemic to provide data analysis and modeling related to COVID-19.

Using U-M COVID-19 modeling data, along with data from the Michigan Disease Surveillance System, Oxford Coronavirus Government Response Tracker and John Hopkins University Coronavirus database, researchers compared coronavirus cases and public health measures following the Nov. 15 “Pause to Save Lives” mandate.

The modeling showed that between Nov. 15 and Jan. 8, about 109,000 cases were prevented. Based on Michigan’s rate of fatality of 2.6%, that translates to 2,800 lives saved.

Researchers also found that states with higher average "government response index" did better at containing the spread.

Michigan had the lowest cases count among Midwestern states over the holiday season.

“Michiganders have been doing their part in terms of maintaining social distancing and staying home, and those efforts have prevented illnesses and deaths across the state,” Eisenberg said.

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