Restrictive public health measures were sold as temporary trade-offs of liberty for safety from infection. It was argued that if we gave up trade and freedom of movement for a brief time, COVID-19 could be defeated and we can then return to normal living. As we’ve been saying the beginning though, the cost of liberty and prosperity has been high for an uncertain return since day one. Researchers now show that there was very little benefit to the freedom taken away.
Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics and Global Health found that locking downs in Europe and the United States reduced COVID-19 deaths by 0.2%, according to a meta analysis of 24 studies published this week.
You read that right, 0.2%. So it did save 2 people out of a thousand, and some will argue that lockdowns were worth it. But the cost of permanently closed businesses, loss of livelihoods and housing, and the very real impact on our own mental health has to be to factored in too.
The authors were Jonas Herby (with the Danish Center for Political Studies), Lars Jonung (Lund University), and Steve H. Hanke (Johns Hopkins University) “SIPOs [Shelter-in-place-orders] were also ineffective, only reducing COVID-19 mortality by 2.9% on average,” they wrote.
There is some evidence that closing bars has reduced the number of deaths, according to the analysis. There is no evidence that lockdowns or school closings, border closings or limiting gatherings had an impact on COVID-19 mortalities.
The authors recommend that “lockdowns, even though this meta-analysis concluded that they had little or no impact on public health, they have imposed huge economic and social cost where they were adopted.” “Lockdown policies should not be used as a panademic policy instrument. They are therefore unfounded.”