The wave of lockdowns, school closures, and limited gatherings reduced COVID-19 mortality by just 0.2 percent at "enormous economic and social costs," according to an analysis by economists led by the head of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise
"A Literature Review and Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Lockdowns on COVID-19 Mortality" found the shutdowns had "little to no effect" on saving lives during the COVID-19 pandemic and "should be rejected out of hand as a pandemic policy."
Flying in the face of the pervasive "Trust the Science" narrative, the meta-analysis of 24 studies uncovered telling truths that unravel the mythology surrounding COVID-19 and the purported efficacy of stringent pandemic rules.
The group analyzed studies from the first surge of the COVID-19 pandemic to investigate claims that the draconian restrictions would limit deaths.
Findings show that that lockdowns across the United States and Europe had "reduced COVID-19 mortality by 0.2% on average," despite the panic mongering.
Several of the studies indicated that limiting gatherings in safe outdoor spots may have been "counterproductive and increased" the death rate, the authors observed.
"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 handful of professors wrote in the 62-page report for the university's peer-reviewed journal "Studies in Applied Economics."
The initial lockdowns in spring 2020 "have had devastating effects," the authors asserted, meanwhile they've discovered that sheltering in place had little effect on the spread of COVID-19 during the early days of the pandemic.
Some of the studies even suggested shelter-in-place orders increased the threat of the contagion, forcing individuals to stay home with vulnerable family members.
"Unintended consequences" nudged people to spend time in "safe (outdoor) places" and instead pushed people to "meet at less safe (indoor) places."
As a result, the lockdowns have "contributed to reducing economic activity, raising unemployment, reducing schooling, causing political unrest, contributing to domestic violence, and undermining liberal democracy," the report reads.
"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, calling the restrictive pandemic response policies "ill-founded."
The research team, including a Swedish professor and a special adviser at the Center for Political Studies in Copenhagen, Denmark, said it evaluated any government mandate that limited "internal movement," closed schools, shuttered businesses, and banned international travel. For almost all of the measures, there were "no broad-based evidence of noticeable effects on COVID-19 mortality."
However, closing non-essential businesses did produce a slight positive outcome with 10.6 percent reduction in virus deaths, according to the eye-opening report, which the authors said was "likely to be related to the closure of bars."
The authors found that face masks "may reduce" COVID-19 mortality, but noted the limited number of relevant studies to be able to reach concrete conclusions.
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