The effectiveness of one of the most hated measures to stem the coronavirus pandemic has been laid bare by a series of new studies.
Lockdowns had “little to no effect” on saving lives during the pandemic — and “should be rejected out of hand as a pandemic policy”, according to economists in a new meta-analysis of dozens of studies.
A group led by the head of Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics analysed studies from the first surge of the pandemic to investigate widely pushed claims that stringent restrictions would limit deaths, the New York Post reports.
Instead, the meta-analysis concluded that lockdowns across the US and Europe had only “reduced Covid-19 mortality by 0.2 per cent on average.”
Worse, some of the studies even suggested that limiting gatherings in safe outdoor spots may have been “counter-productive and increased” the death rate, the authors noted.
“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,” the professors wrote in the journal Studies in Applied Economics.
In fact, the early lockdowns “have had devastating effects,” the authors insisted. “They have contributed to reducing economic activity, raising unemployment, reducing schooling, causing political unrest, contributing to domestic violence, and undermining liberal democracy,” the damning report insisted.
“Such a standard benefit-cost calculation leads to a strong conclusion: lockdowns should be rejected out of hand as a pandemic policy instrument,” the authors said of the “ill-founded” measures.
The research was led by Steve Hanke, founder and co-director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics, along with a professor from Sweden and a special Adviser at the Center for Political Studies in Copenhagen, Denmark.