Italy, Spain and France have the three worst coronavirus outbreaks in Europe. All are in lockdown — and there are clear signs that it is working.
It has taken between three and four weeks since the countries ordered lockdowns for daily new infections and deaths to begin to decline.
On Sunday, each country had recorded at least a two-day consecutive decline in deaths from the virus, and new recorded cases also appear to be dropping, according to figures on Worldometer.
The numbers from China, however, suggest it may take more like a month for the impact on coronavirus deaths to really be felt.
Three European countries the hardest by the coronavirus have begun to show early signs of the virus slowing, roughly three weeks after the date of their respective lockdowns.
Italy, Spain and France all reported declines in their daily death tolls from the virus on Sunday. They have also begun to show a leveling-off, or more than one consecutive day of decline, in their rate of new cases.
Italy, which still has the world's highest recorded death rate from the virus, at 15,887 deaths, was the first European country to go into lockdown on March 10.
Citizens have been barred from all but essential travel and only essential businesses remain open.
21 days into that lockdown, on March 30, daily new cases of the virus dropped from 5,217 to 4,050 the day before — more than a thousand fewer. Since then, those cases have risen only moderately, hovering between around 4,000 to 4,800 per day, lower than the March 21 peak of 6,557.
On Sunday — 27 days after Italy was put under lockdown — the country also reported its third consecutive daily decline in deaths, at 525. At the virus' height on March 27, 919 people died in a single day.
In Spain, it has also taken around 21 days for similar indications to show in the country's death rates and rates of new infection. Having gone into lockdown on March 14, the country began what has become its third consecutive-day decline in deaths from the virus on April 3, recording 850 deaths. By Sunday, that figure dropped to 694.
New cases in Spain also began a four-day decline on April 2. On Sunday, new cases dropped steeply from 6,969 the day before, to 5,478.
France went into lockdown on March 17 — one week after Italy did — and both deaths and new cases have slowed since April 3.
The picture there is less clear, having been distorted by a massive spike in deaths and new cases on April 2 and April 3.
The spike is from previously-unreported deaths and infections which had been recorded in nursing homes rather than hospitals. They were added to the national totals across two days even though many took place earlier.
18 days after the lockdown began, 518 people were recorded dead from the virus on Sunday in France, a huge drop from the country's peak of 1,355 on April 2. However, Sunday's numbers only show a return to levels roughly similar to those recorded before that April 2 spike.
Sunday was France's third consecutive day of declining new cases numbers — the country recorded 2,886 new cases, an encouragingly low number just 19 days after its lockdown began. However just two days prior, the country had recorded 23,060 new cases.
In the United States, which has recorded more than twice as many infections as any other nation, there is no nationwide lockdown, though many orders are in place at the state and city level.
The three-to-four week timescale of lockdown affecting the spread of the virus is broadly consistent with the dates of China's lockdown of Hubei, the province where the virus originated.
Hubei, where the vast majority of China's cases were located, was locked down on January 23. Worldometer's figures (albeit for all of China) show that daily new reported cases began a noticeable decline on February 14, 23 days later.
This is taking into account a huge spike in numbers recorded on February 12, when the method of diagnosing the virus was broadened in definition.
However, daily reported deaths from the virus went through phases of decline and subsequent growth until February 24, a full month later. Only then, when 71 people were reported dead, did deaths more consistently begin to peter out.
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