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The staggering number of lives saved by the covid vaccine

But could more have been done?

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But could more have been done?
The Economist

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June 25th 2022

The Economist this week

A special edition on our coronavirus coverage


Welcome to our weekly newsletter highlighting the best of The Economist’s coverage of the covid-19 pandemic and its effects.
 
A paper published in the Lancet this week estimated that covid-19 vaccines prevented around 20m deaths in the first year of their roll-out. But more could have been done. The researchers’ mathematical model suggests that roughly one in five deaths due to covid in low-income countries might have been avoided if the World Health Organisation’s vaccination targets had been met. Our Daily Chart presents the findings.

In other vaccine news, the efficacy of Russia’s Sputnik V covid jab was called into question. Our Science section reports on a new study which notes some unlikely results in the vaccine’s clinical trial (the developers dispute the claims). The ball is now in the Russian team’s court: only if they release the data in question can others can verify the results.

In China, the government’s insistence on eradicating covid has caused misery. When Shanghai entered lockdown in April, a survey of residents found that more than 40% were at risk of depression. Searches in Shanghai for “psychological counselling” on Baidu, a search engine, rose by 253% that month. Suicides in Wuhan, the city where the virus was first identified, were 79% higher in the first quarter of 2020 (when it was under lockdown) than in the same period a year earlier. China’s mental-health crisis was getting worse even before the pandemic struck. But as an article in our China section reports this week, lockdowns and constant surveillance have added to the anxiety.

Zanny Minton Beddoes
Editor-in-chief

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