The president defended his actions to combat the pandemic after The New York Times published findings from the university's disease modelers that roughly 36,000 fewer people would have died from coronavirus in the us if the country imposed restrictions just one week earlier.
"It's a big, big difference", lead researcher Jeffrey Shaman, an epidemiologist at Columbia, told The New York Times.
Trump chose to close travel to China in January, but recommendations from officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with regard to closing travel from Europe were largely ignored at a critical time - again, in early March. "That small moment in time, catching it in that growth phase, is incredibly critical in reducing the number of deaths", Shaman said.
State-wide lockdowns were imposed in mid- to late March as cases began to rise in the US. At the start of March, there were about 20 confirmed COVID-19 deaths.
And, with restrictions being eased across New York State and portions of the country, the same researchers warn that "rapid response remains essential to avoid large-scale resurgences of infections and deaths in locations with reopening plans".
Trump has continued to praise his own decision on closing travel from China as the most important one in combating coronavirus, saying that move "saved a lot of lives".
The university study found that about 54,000 fewer people would have died from the virus by early May had those policies been put in place on March 1.
Advice from the CDC to the White House to close travel from that continent came about on March 5, but the president didn't act upon it until March 11, as close to 66,000 Europeans were flying into the USA every day.
"So past year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu".
De Blasio did not close the city's schools until March 15, almost one week after NY began to lead the country in positive cases.
The study gauged how reduced contact between people in mid-March slowed the spread of the virus, according to The New York Times, and models what would have happened if those same shifts in behavior happened one or two weeks sooner.
Most states and major cities imposed restrictions in mid-March that shuttered businesses and urged residents to shelter in place.
"Our results also indicate that without sufficient broader testing and contact tracing capacity, the long lag between infection acquisition and case confirmation masks the rebound and exponential growth of COVID-19 until it is well underway".
Researchers at Harvard have estimated that the United States would need to administer at least 20 million coronavirus tests a day by late July to "fully remobilize the country". Testing in the U.S. remains far short of that goal, with a little under 13 million total tests being done across the country as of May 20.
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