Florida vindicated, NY and Cali bomb after study evaluates states for best, worst COVID-19 decisions

Stark differences can be seen in how liberal and conservative states handled mandates, restrictions, lockdowns, and all that went with the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study.

In a report by the Committee To Unleash Prosperity, state governments’ response to the pandemic and how they handled the emergency were examined by looking at measures in mortality rates from the virus as well as the effects on the economy and education, Fox News reported.

What became clear was that some of the “biggest mistakes” were made in blue states where the restrictions were stricter or lasted longer.

“Shutting down their economies and schools was by far the biggest mistake governors and state officials made during COVID, particularly in blue states,” Committee to Unleash Prosperity co-founder Steve Moore told Fox News Digital. “We hope the results of this study will persuade governors not to close schools and businesses the next time we have a new virus variant.”

Among the worst states for their emergency response were New York, California, New Jersey and Illinois which performed “poorly on every measure,” the report noted.

The study showed that these states led by Democratic governors “had high age-adjusted death rates; they had high unemployment and significant GDP losses, and they kept their schools shut down much longer than almost all other states.”

In contrast, 13 of the top 15 states in the study boast Republican governors. Some of the highest-scoring states included Utah, Nebraska, Vermont, Montana, South Dakota and Florida.

Notably, the study found that lower death totals from the virus were not necessarily tied to stringent lockdowns and restrictions on travel, dining, and work.

“The study verifies other studies which have found that locking down businesses, stores, churches, schools, and restaurants had almost no impact on health outcomes across states,” according to the study, Fox News reported.

“States with strict lockdowns had virtually no better performance in COVID death rates than states that remained mostly open for business,” the report added.

These results fly in the face of the criticism leveled at red states and Republican-run locations which were pilloried by the panicked left for not imposing the same draconian restrictions in blue states.

Published last week as a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the study was authored by University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan and Stephen Moore and Phil Kerpen of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity.

In the area of education, the study found “School closures may ultimately prove to be the most costly policy decision of the pandemic era in both economic and mortality terms.”

“Unlike mortality or economic outcomes, closing public schools was entirely under the control of policymakers. Almost all private schools were open,” the report noted.

The study concluded that locked-down states did have better results in health or economy.

“Unsurprisingly, there was a strong relationship between the states that had poor economic performance and closed schools – the lockdown states,” the paper noted. “Although sometimes criticized as having policies that were ‘too open,’ Florida proved to have average mortality while maintaining a high level of economic activity and 96 percent open schools.”


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