A new study finds that lockdown orders didn’t reduce overall mortality, and may have even increased it. Life under lockdown was hard for all of us. From economic destruction to social isolation, the costs of restrictive government policies intended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 have been steep. In a new paper, economists from the University of Southern California and the RAND Corporation examined the effectiveness of «shelter-in-place» mandates, aka stay-at-home orders, using data from 43 countries and all 50 US states.
The experts analyze not just deaths from COVID-19, but «excess deaths,» a measure that compares overall deaths from all causes to a historical baseline. The authors explain that lockdown orders may have had lethal unintended consequences in their own right, such as increased drug overdoses, worsened mental health problems, increased child abuse, deadly delays in non-COVID medical care, and more. So, to find out whether stay-at-home orders truly helped more than they hurt, examining excess deaths, not just pandemic outcomes, is key. «We fail to find that shelter-in-place policies saved lives,» the authors report.
«We failed to find that countries or U. states that implemented SIP policies earlier, and in which SIP policies had longer to operate, had lower excess deaths than countries/U. states that were slower to implement SIP policies,» the authors explain. A number of other credible studies have similarly concluded that lockdowns were ineffective at slowing the spread of COVID-19. Plus, other research now shows that most COVID-19 spread occurred at home, not out in the world, making stay-at-home orders all the more absurd in hindsight.
The takeaway here is not just that stay-at-home orders are an ineffective public policy.
Source: Brad Polumbo | Foundation for Economic Education