Major Johns Hopkins study finds lockdowns were a big mistake, ‘should be rejected out of hand’

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A meta-analysis spearheaded by Johns Hopkins University has found that the economically devastating lockdowns that occurred in the spring of 2020 barely moved the needle on preventing COVID deaths.

A meta-analysis is a study in which researchers dig through a bunch of other studies and use all the combined data to reach one definitive conclusion.

The meta-analysis by JHU found that on average, both and shelter-in-place orders (SIPOs) applied both in the United States and Europe did not have “a large, significant effect on mortality rates.”

“Studies examining the relationship between lockdown strictness (based on the OxCGRT stringency index) 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. Shelter-in-place orders (SIPOs) were also ineffective. They only reduced COVID-19 mortality by 2.9%,” the analysis reads.

The meta-analysis also found that most specific nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) tended to offer little benefit, save for, in it would appear, one measure.

“Studies looking at specific NPIs (lockdown vs. no lockdown, facemasks, closing non-essential businesses, border closures, school closures, and limiting gatherings) also find no broad-based evidence of noticeable effects on COVID-19 mortality,” according to the analysis.

The one exception is “closing non-essential businesses,” which the analysis admits did reduce the COVID mortality rate by 10.6 percent. However, the analysis warns that this finding was likely affected primarily by the closing of bars.

Based on these studies, the authors of the analysis “conclude that lockdowns are not an effective way of reducing mortality rates during a pandemic, at least not during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The analysis was penned by three researchers: Steve H. Hanke of John Hopkins University, Lars Jonung of Lund University in Sweden, and Jonas Herby, an adviser with the Center for Political Studies, a conservative think tank in Denmark.

The authors note that these marginal benefits from NPIs are contrasted by a plethora of “unintended consequences.”

They note, for instance, that SIPOs “may isolate an infected person at home with his/her family where he/she risks infecting family members with a higher viral load, causing more severe illness.”

And indeed, the authors found some studies that, amazingly enough, showed that SIPOs sometimes increased the COVID mortality rate.

The authors further note that lockdowns “limited peoples’ access to safe (outdoor) places such as beaches, parks, and zoos, or included outdoor mask mandates or strict outdoor gathering restrictions, pushing people to meet at less safe (indoor) places.”

And indeed, they found some studies also showering that “limiting gatherings was counterproductive and increased COVID-19 mortality.”

The authors also point to the “devastating effects” of strict NPIs.

“They have contributed to reducing economic activity, raising unemployment, reducing schooling, causing political unrest, contributing to domestic violence, and undermining liberal democracy,”  they write.

“These costs to society must be compared to the benefits of lockdowns, which our meta-analysis has shown are marginal at best. Such a standard benefit-cost calculation leads to a strong conclusion: lockdowns should be rejected out of hand as a pandemic policy instrument.”

This conclusion is reiterated again later in the analysis: “While this meta-analysis concludes that lockdowns have had little to no public health effects, they have imposed enormous economic and social costs where they have been adopted. In consequence, lockdown policies are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument.”

Since its publication last month, the analysis has been retweeted by many of the same public figures who’d been outspoken in arguing against the use of lockdowns back when the pandemic first hit in the spring of 2020.

At the time, lockdown critics were ridiculed and demonized by the lockdown zealots as heartless monsters who wanted grandma and grandpa to die.

Yet weeks later, these same lockdowns zealots cheered in jubilation as millions of Black Lives Matter extremists flooded city streets across the nation in violation of the same lockdown orders:

Vivek Saxena


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