On Wednesday, the UK Health Security Agency quietly released a review which found that the evidence base for the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) on Covid transmission was weak. These include such measures as lockdown, the ‘rule of 6’, test and isolation, face coverings, border restrictions, and more.

The review identified 151 studies conducted in the UK. Two-thirds of the evidence identified was based on modelling studies, and there were only two randomised control trials included. Studies focused on measures to identify or isolate infectious people or reduce the number of human contacts were the most numerous. Only nine studies focused on measures to protect the most vulnerable.

The report concluded that “there is a lack of strong evidence on the effectiveness of NPIs to reduce COVID-19 transmission”:

“The body of evidence available on effectiveness of NPIs in the UK provides weak evidence in terms of study design, as it is mainly based on modelling studies, ecological studies, mixed-methods studies and qualitative studies. ”

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