Government interventions and control policies to contain the first COVID-19 outbreak: An analysis of evidence.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


The overarching aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness over time of government interventions and policy restrictions and the impact of determinants on spread and mortality during the first-wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, globally, regionally and by country-income level, up to 18 May 2020.


We created a global database merging World Health Organization daily case reports (from 218 countries/territories) with other socio-demographic and population health measures from 21 January to 18 May 2020. A four-level government policy interventions score (low to very high) was created based on the Oxford Stringency Index.


Our results support the use of very high government interventions to suppress both COVID-19 spread and mortality effectively during wave one globally compared to other policy levels of control. Similar trends in virus propagation and mortality were observed in all country-income levels and specific regions.


Rapid implementation of government interventions was needed to contain the first wave of the COVID-19 outbreak and to reduce COVID-19-related mortality.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Fernández, D; Giné-Vázquez, I; Morena, M; Koyanagi, AI; Janko, MM; Haro, JM; Panagiotakos, D; Molassiotis, A; Pan, WK; Tyrovolas, S

Published Date

  • March 2023

Published In

Start / End Page

  • 14034948231156969 -

PubMed ID

  • 36883722

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC9996153

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1651-1905

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1403-4948

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/14034948231156969


  • eng