What is already known about this topic?

Mitigation policies, including closure of nonessential businesses, restrictions on gatherings and movement, and stay-at-home orders, have been critical to controlling the COVID-19 pandemic in many countries, but they come with high social and economic costs.

What is added by this report?

European countries that implemented more stringent mitigation policies earlier in their outbreak response tended to report fewer COVID-19 deaths through the end of June 2020. These countries might have saved several thousand lives relative to countries that implemented similar policies, but later.

What are the implications for public health practice?

Earlier implementation of stringent mitigation policies, even by just a few weeks, appears to be important to prevent widespread COVID-19 transmission and reduce the number of deaths.



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