BALTIMORE (WLAX/WEUX) – A recent study from John Hopkins University has found that lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders had negligible impact on COVID death rates. The authors concluded that “lockdown policies are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument.”
The study done by Jonas Herby, Lars Jonung, and Steve H. Hanke analyzed 34 eligible case studies of various “lockdown” strategies: lockdown stringency index studies, shelter-in-place-order (SIPO) studies, and specific Non-Pharmaceutical Intervention (NPI) studies. Their analysis of the lockdown stringency index studies found that lockdowns in Europe and the United States reduced COVID-19 mortality by 0.2% on average. SIPOs reduced COVID-19 mortality by 2.9% on average. The author’s meta-analysis showed that “lockdowns have had little to no effect on COVID-19 mortality.”
In fact, their study of NPI measures found that “lockdowns and limiting gatherings seem to increase COVID-19 mortality…” likely due to the limitation for people to gather at safe, outdoor areas and restricting them to small, confined, indoor spaces in their home. The authors mention, “border closures [have] little to no effect on COVID-19 mortality.” While several countries are still pursuing this strategy, most notably Australia who has been one of the strictest countries with lockdowns and border protection throughout the pandemic.
In regards to school restrictions the study concludes, “Evidence from school-based studies demonstrate it is largely safe for young children (<10 years of age) to be at schools; however, older children (between 10 and 19 years of age) might facilitate transmission.” The meta-analysis’ findings on mask mandates was somewhat mixed with some studies indicating mask wearing could significantly reduce COVID mortality, while others showed no effect.
Lockdowns in various forms have been pursued by governments around the world as a way to mitigate the transmission and public health risk of COVID-19 to their respective populations. After analyzing the real-world effects of these measures, the study finds these government interventions had little to no effect on COVID-19 mortality.
However, the significant economic and mental health consequences of these lockdown measures can still be seen today. Rising unemployment, reduced or less effective schooling, an increase in domestic violence incidents, and surging drug overdoses have all stemmed from early lockdown procedures. The CDC has noted, there has been a 28.5% increase in drug overdoses in the U.S., Domestic violence incidents increased 8.1% in the U.S. after lockdown measures, and about 97% of U.S. teachers said that their students have experienced learning loss during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Horace Mann survey last year.