Lockdown’s legacy isn’t aging well.
A new study has found that lockdowns during the first wave of the pandemic in Europe and the US had next to no effect on reducing deaths from Covid.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University conducted analysis on several studies to reach their conclusion:
“Overall, our meta-analysis fails to confirm that lockdowns have had a large, significant effect on mortality rates. Studies examining the relationship between lockdown strictness find that the average lockdown in Europe and the United States only reduced COVID-19 mortality by 0.2% compared to a COVID-19 policy based solely on recommendations.”
The co-authors – Steve Hanke, co-founder of the Johns Hopkins School of Applied Economics, Jonas Herby, a Danish political scientist, and Lars Jonung, a Swedish economist – drew attention to the skewed cost-benefit of the policy:
“Lockdowns during the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic have had devastating effects. They have contributed to reducing economic activity, raising unemployment, reducing schooling, causing political unrest, contributing to domestic violence, and undermining liberal democracy. These costs to society must be compared to the benefits of lockdowns, which our meta-analysis has shown are marginal at best.”
The study also offers an explanation for why this was:
“Mandates only regulate a fraction of our potential contagious contacts and can hardly regulate nor enforce handwashing, coughing etiquette, distancing in supermarkets, etc. Countries like Denmark, Finland, and Norway that realized success in keeping COVID-19 mortality rates relatively low allowed people to go to work, use public transport, and meet privately at home during the first lockdown. In these countries, there were ample opportunities to legally meet with others.”
The research adds credibility to a growing body of evidence that what is often sold as a risk-averse policy option to deal with the pandemic is in fact no such thing.