In the West, faced with the growing pandemic, most epidemiologists favoured a strict lockdown. This was based on a key study of the 1919-20 Spanish flu epidemic which showed those cities in the US that enforced a strict lockdown saved lives. But is this study relevant to a new virus with different age groups at risk?
Could it be that Spanish flu was helped by lockdown because it hit all age groups including the young? While Covid-19 is most damaging to older groups and lockdown might even encourage more contact with those at risk?
Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk Sir David Spieghelhalter, Director of UCL’s Institute for Human Health Hugh Montgomery, and Oxford Professor of Epidemiology Sunetra Gupta scrutinise the consequences of lockdown.