UAB Study Suggests Stay-at-Home Orders Saved Lives This Spring

Bisakha Sen, PhD, professor at UAB. (Source: UAB)

If no states had issued stay-at-home orders to their residents as the novel coronavirus swept across the country this past spring, the U.S. could have had 22% more deaths and 220% more people infected than if there had been a nationwide stay-at-home order, researchers at UAB have projected.

The researchers analyzed case rates and death rates in each state against the presence or absence of stay-at-home orders between the dates of March 1 to May 4.

“While the high economic cost makes SAHOs unsustainable as a long-term policy, our findings could help inform federal, state and local policymakers in weighing the costs and benefits of different short-term options to combat the pandemic,” said senior author Bisakha Sen, Ph.D., Blue Cross Blue Shield Endowed Chair in Health Economics in the School of Public Health. She was quoted in a story released by the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The paper, published on JAMA Network Open, also sought to verify whether the proportion of Blacks in a state was associated with the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in that state. The researchers found that larger Black populations had higher COVID-19 case rates, according to the JAMA synopsis.

The full study will be available free online at the JAMA site.