Johns Hopkins University: ‘Little to no evidence’ stay-at-home orders reduced COVID mortality rates

In addition to being largely ineffective, lockdowns had numerous unintended consequences, such as reduced schooling, rising unemployment, surging drug overdoses, and suicides.

Johns Hopkins University: ‘Little to no evidence’ stay-at-home orders reduced COVID mortality rates
AP Photo/Rick Rycroft
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A new study conducted by Johns Hopkins University found that lockdowns imposed to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic only reduced the death rate by a meagre 0.2%. The study also found that so-called shelter-in-place orders, made popular by the “Stay at Home, Save Lives” slogan reduced mortality by 2.9% — a statistically insignificant number.

“We find little to no evidence that mandated lockdowns in Europe and the United States had a noticeable effect on COVID-19 mortality rates,” said the researchers.

In a meta-analysis of several studies conducted by the university, lockdowns during the first wave of COVID-19 in Spring 2020 only reduced mortality rates by 0.2% in the United States and Europe.

“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 researchers stated. “In consequence, lockdown policies are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument.”

Economics professors Steve Hanke of Johns Hopkins University, Lars Jonung of Lund University, and Jonas Herby, a special advisor at Copenhagen’s Center for Political Studies examined the efficacy of lockdowns in schools, businesses, and mask mandates on COVID-19 deaths, Fox News reported.

In addition, researchers examined shelter-in-place orders and found that they reduced COVID-19 mortality by 2.9%. Studies that only looked at shelter-in-place orders found that they reduced mortality by 5.1%, but studies that looked at shelter-in-place orders in addition to other lockdown measures found that the shelter-in-place orders actually increased mortality by 2.8%.

In other words, shelter-in-place orders had a terrible effect on mortality rates.

“[Shelter-in-place orders] 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,” the scientists explained.

“But often, lockdowns have limited people's 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.”

Similar effects have been observed with the introduction of curfews and limited store hours that were instituted without capacity management, forcing people to queue in large numbers during allocated times.

In addition to being largely ineffective, lockdowns had numerous unintended consequences, such as reduced schooling, rising unemployment, surging drug overdoses, and suicides. Additionally, the number of domestic violence incidents increased during the duration of the lockdowns.

According to CDC data, the United States witnessed 100,306 drug overdose deaths from May 2020 to April 2021. The figure represents a 28.5% increase from the previous 12 month period.

As further detailed by the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice in 2021, domestic violence incidents increased 8.1% in the U.S. after lockdown orders were enacted.

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

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  • By Ezra Levant

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