Opinion: A new report confirms that restrictive COVID lockdowns don’t work

Mark Harmsworth of the Washington Policy Center makes the case that lockdowns are not the answer to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Mark Harmsworth of the Washington Policy Center makes the case that lockdowns are not the answer to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Mark Harmsworth
Washington Policy Center

Over the last 18 months, the Washington Policy Center has published several articles and a policy brief on the ineffectiveness of pandemic lockdowns on the spread of COVID-19. Now a new, peer reviewed study from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) has reached the same conclusion.

Mark Harmsworth
Mark Harmsworth

The study, ‘A FINAL REPORT CARD ON THE STATES’ RESPONSE TO COVID-19’ by Phil Kerpen, Stephen Moore and Casey B. Mulligan, concludes, that for the United States there was very little health benefit, on average, for states that had the most restrictive lockdowns vs the states that were less restrictive.

Using Florida as an example as the state had widely publicized, less restrictive lockdown policies but its average mortality rate had little differences to those states that had locked down. Economic activity and education (96% of schools remained open) was significantly higher than the states that remained closed.

Comparing Florida to California, which had extensive lockdowns and only 20% of its schools open, the average health and average mortality was similar.

Washington ranked 6th in the nation for the lowest number of COVID deaths adjusted by age and was ranked 47th in the nation for in-person education time in the classroom. Estimates show that the long-term effect of almost 2 years of education outside of the home are approximately 13.8 million years of lost education nationwide. The long-term impacts of remote learning won’t be known for many years. According to the report, when taking into account the impact to children that did not fully complete their high school education, the combined mortality rates for COVID related lockdown impact and resulting mental health issues will be much higher than for those states that kept their schools open.

This long-term impact might be significant in Washington, which could have opened its schools much sooner with little impact to the mortality rate.

Public health data from John Hopkins confirms there is little or no difference in COVID-19 case trends in the sampling of states with the most economic and social restrictions compared to the states that impose the least restrictions. In fact, the rate of confirmed cases is declining faster in the states with limited restrictions. California, where the governor imposed the harshest restrictions, saw some of the fastest increases in confirmed COVID-19 cases during the pandemic.

The data shows that infection rates are not significantly affected by strict, long-term lockdowns, while they do impose harmful mental health problems, increased social and family emotional stress and a strong negative economic impact on small business owners and working people.

Should there be a resurgence of a COVID, based on the data now available, lockdowns are not the solution.

Mark Harmsworth is the director of the Small Business Center at the Washington Policy Center.

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  1. Sylvia

    Congratulations on publishing what has been obvious from the start of this ‘plan’demic.
    Lockdowns are thoughtless decisions made in haste, with zero risk analysis (let alone risk mitigation or effective management). It has been the direct and primary cause of economic ruin, job losses, mental distress, social chaos, confusion, aggression, hostilities, as well as local and global polarization.
    Taxpayer $$ should be spent on promoting healthy lifestyles, eg:

    1. Removing highly processed, sugary foods and beverages.
    2. Replacing the above with wholesome, organic foods and fresh fruit/vegetable juices.
    3. Regular ‘as able’ exercise.
    4. Quality sleep.
    5. Sensible use of electronic devices.
    6. Eliminate, or at leasr reduce, the consumption of alcohol.
    7. Quit smoking and/or vaping.
    8. Quit any and all drug use.
    9. Develop compassion for self and others.
    10. Practise gratitude for what is positive, rather than dwell on the negative.
    11. Practise breathing exercises and mindful meditation.

    Over time the above will help improve health, immune strength, cognitive flexibility, and resilient aging. Metabolic syndromes, eg obesity or high blood pressure or diabetes T2, are often reversed.
    A robust immune system will protect against pathogens; at worst, any illness will be mild or asymptomatic.
    Give it a go – nothing to lose!

  2. Margaret

    China’s dynamic zero-COVID policy requires those who test positive, including infants and children to isolate in quarantine facilities or hospitals, with no family contact allowed…
    the child separation policy has been a particular source of anger. Parents began openly calling to end the policy after videos of unaccompanied infants crying in a Shanghai COVID-19 hospital went viral online. Articles arguing against separation were posted online by medical professionals, lawyers, and therapists. Foreign diplomats from more than 30 countries sent letters to the government to protest the practice. 

    full article https://time.com/6166032/shanghai-covid-child-separation/


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