Shutdowns only reduced the COVID-19 death rate by 0.2%, the study shows: ‘Lockdowns should be rejected outright’
Shutdowns only reduced the COVID-19 death rate by 0.2%, the study shows: ‘Lockdowns should be rejected outright’

Shutdowns only reduced the COVID-19 death rate by 0.2%, the study shows: ‘Lockdowns should be rejected outright’

Lockdowns during the first COVID-19 wave in the spring of 2020 only reduced COVID-19 mortality by 0.2% in the US and Europeaccording to a Johns Hopkins University meta-analysis of several studies.

“While this meta-analysis concludes that lockdowns have had little or no publicity health effects they have inflicted enormous economic and social costs where they have been adopted, “the researchers wrote.” As a consequence, lockdown policies are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument. “

The researchers – Johns Hopkins University economics professor Steve Hanke, Lund University economics professor Lars Jonung, and special adviser at the Copenhagen Center for Political Studies Jonas Herby – analyzed the effects of lockdown measures such as school closures, corporate closures and mask mandates on COVID-19 deaths.

“We find little or no evidence that mandated shutdowns in Europe and the United States had a significant effect on COVID-19 mortality,” wrote researchers.

A man crosses an empty highway during a complete roadblock amid growing concern about coronavirus on March 24, 2020.
(AP Photo / Altaf Qadri)

The researchers also examined ly-in-place orders and found that they reduced COVID-19 mortality by 2.9%.

Studies that looked only at shelter-in-place orders showed that they reduced COVID-19 mortality by 5.1%, but studies that looked at shelter-in-place orders along with other lockdown measures, showed that shelter-in-place orders actually increased COVID-19 mortality by 2.8%.

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The researchers concluded that restriction of assemblies may actually have increased COVID-19 mortality.

“[Shelter-in-place orders] “can isolate an infected person at home with his / her family, where he / she risks infecting family members with a higher amount of virus, which causes more serious illness,” the researchers wrote.

“But often lockdowns have restricted people’s access to safe (outdoor) places such as beaches, parks and zoos, or included outdoor mask mandates or strict outdoor gathering restrictions that force people to meet in less safe (indoor) places.”

The researchers also examined studies that focused on specific lockdown measures and found that the only intervention that reduced COVID-19 mortality was the closure of unnecessary businesses, which reduced mortality by 10.6%, but this effect was probably driven by the closure of bars.

A man living on the street shows what he says is the synthetic drug fentanyl in the Tenderloin section of San Francisco, California.

A man living on the street shows what he says is the synthetic drug fentanyl in the Tenderloin section of San Francisco, California.
(Reuters / Shannon Stapleton)

Researchers also pointed to other unintended consequences of shutdowns, such as rising unemployment, reduced schooling, an increase in domestic violence and rising drug overdoses.

From May 2020 to April 2021, USA recorded 100,306 overdose deathsan increase of 28.5% from the 78,056 deaths recorded in the previous 12-month period, according to CDC data.

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A study by the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice found last year that domestic violence rose 8.1% in the United States after lockdown orders were issued.

A sign taped to the front door of the Pulaski International School of Chicago reads: 'School Closed', after Chicago Public Schools, the country's third largest school district, said they would cancel classes.

A sign taped to the front door of the Pulaski International School of Chicago reads: ‘School Closed’, after Chicago Public Schools, the country’s third largest school district, said they would cancel classes.
(REUTERS / Jim Vondruska)

About 97% of American teachers said their students have experienced learning loss during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Horace Mann study last year.

Unemployment peaked nationally at 14.8% in April 2020, however fell to 3.9% in December, which is still slightly higher than the 3.5% rate it was at in February 2020.

“These costs to society must be compared to the benefits of lockdowns, which our meta-analysis has shown are marginal at best,” wrote the researchers in the Johns Hopkins University study.

“Such a standard-benefit-cost calculation leads to a strong conclusion: lockdowns should be dismissed outright as a pandemic policy instrument.”

The President of the United States, Joe Biden, comments on the administration's response to the increase in coronavirus in the South Court Auditorium of the White House in Washington, USA, on January 13, 2022.

The President of the United States, Joe Biden, comments on the administration’s response to the increase in coronavirus in the South Court Auditorium of the White House in Washington, USA, on January 13, 2022.
(REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque / File Photo)

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President Biden has promised to focus on testing and vaccinations to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 instead of the lockdowns that characterized the earlier part of the pandemic.

“It does not include shutdowns or shutdowns, but widespread vaccinations and boosters and testing of much more,” Biden said in December about his winter plans to fight the pandemic.

Several cities and states around the country still have mask mandates, distance learning and other measures in place.

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