Impact of the stringency of lockdown measures on covid-19: A theoretical model of a pandemic

Claudio Violato, Emilio Mauro Violato, Efrem Mauro Violato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: How effective have lockdowns been at reducing the covid-19 infection and mortality rates? Lockdowns influence contact among persons within or between populations including restricting travel, closing schools, prohibiting public gatherings, requiring workplace closures, all designed to slow the contagion of the virus. The purpose of the present study was to assess the impact of lockdown measures on the spread of covid-19 and test a theoretical model of the covid-19 pandemic employing structural equation modelling.

METHODS: Lockdown variables, population demographics, mortality rates, infection rates, and health were obtained for eight countries: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The dataset, owid-covid-data.csv, was downloaded on 06/01/2020 from: Infection spread and mortality data were depicted as logistic growth and analyzed with stepwise multiple regression. The overall structure of the covid-19 data was explored through factor analyses leading to a theoretical model that was tested using latent variable path analysis.

RESULTS: Multiple regression indicated that the time from lockdown had a small but significant effect (β = 0.112, p< 0.01) on reducing the number of cases per million. The stringency index produced the most important effect for mortality and infection rates (β = 0.588,β = 0.702, β = 0.518, β = 0.681; p< 0.01). Exploratory and confirmatory analyses resulted in meaningful and cohesive latent variables: 1) Mortality, 2) Infection Spread, 3) Pop Health Risk, and 4) Health Vulnerability (Comparative Fit Index = 0.91; Standardized Root Mean Square Residual = 0.08).

DISCUSSION: The stringency index had a large impact on the growth of covid-19 infection and mortality rates as did percentage of population aged over 65, median age, per capita GDP, diabetes prevalence, cardiovascular death rates, and ICU hospital beds per 100K. The overall Latent Variable Path Analysis is theoretically meaningful and coherent with acceptable fit indices as a model of the covid-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0258205
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Violato et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


  • COVID-19/epidemiology
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Databases, Factual
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Pandemics
  • Prevalence
  • Quarantine
  • SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
  • Survival Analysis

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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