(Brownstone Institute) – The great body of evidence (comparative research studies and high-quality pieces of evidence and reporting judged to be relevant to this analysis) shows that COVID-19 lockdowns, shelter-in-place policies, masks, school closures, and mask mandates have failed in their purpose of curbing transmission or reducing deaths. These restrictive policies were ineffective and devastating failures, causing immense harm especially to the poorer and vulnerable within societies.
Nearly all governments have attempted compulsory measures to control the virus, but no government can claim success. The research indicates that mask mandates, lockdowns, and school closures have had no discernible impact of virus trajectories.
Bendavid reported “in the framework of this analysis, there is no evidence that more restrictive nonpharmaceutical interventions (‘lockdowns’) contributed substantially to bending the curve of new cases in England, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, or the United States in early 2020.” We’ve known this for a very long time now, but governments continue to double down, causing misery upon people with ramifications that will likely take decades or more to repair.
The benefits of the societal lockdowns and restrictions have been totally exaggerated and the harms to our societies and children have been severe: the harms to children, the undiagnosed illness that will result in excess mortality in years to come, depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation in our young people, drug overdoses and suicides due to the lockdown policies, the crushing isolation due to the lockdowns, psychological harms, domestic and child abuse, sexual abuse of children, loss of jobs and businesses and the devastating impact, and the massive numbers of deaths resulting from the lockdowns that will impact heavily on women and minorities.
Now we have whispers again for the new lockdowns in response to the Omicron variant that, by my estimations, will be likely infectious but not more lethal.
How did we get here? We knew that we could never eradicate this mutable virus (that has an animal reservoir) with lockdowns and that it would likely become endemic like other circulating common cold coronaviruses. We knew an age-risk stratified approach was optimal (focused protection as outlined in the Great Barrington Declaration) and not carte blanche policies when we had evidence of a 1,000-fold differential in risk of death between a child and an elderly person. We knew of the potency and success of early ambulatory outpatient treatment in reducing the risk of hospitalization and death in the vulnerable.
It was clear very early on that Task Forces and medical advisors and decision-makers were not reading the evidence, were not up to speed with the science or data, did not understand the evidence, did not ‘get’ the evidence, and were blinded to the science, often driven by their own prejudices, biases, arrogance, and ego. They remain ensconced in sheer academic sloppiness and laziness. It was clear that the response was not a public health one. It was a political one from day one and continues today.
A recent study (pre-print) captures the essence and catastrophe of a lockdown society and the hollowing out of our children by looking at how children learn (3 months to 3 years old) and finding across all measures that “children born during the pandemic have significantly reduced verbal, motor, and overall cognitive performance compared to children born pre-pandemic.” Researchers also reported that “males and children in lower socioeconomic families have been most affected. Results highlight that even in the absence of direct SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 illness, the environmental changes associated with the COVID-19 pandemic is significantly and negatively affecting infant and child development.”
Perhaps Donald Luskin of the Wall Street Journal best captures what we have stably witnessed since the start of these unscientific lockdowns and school closures: “Six months into the Covid-19 pandemic, the U.S. has now carried out two large-scale experiments in public health—first, in March and April, the lockdown of the economy to arrest the spread of the virus, and second, since mid-April, the reopening of the economy. The results are in. Counterintuitive though it may be, statistical analysis shows that locking down the economy didn’t contain the disease’s spread and reopening it didn’t unleash a second wave of infections.”
The British Columbia Center for Disease Control (BCCDC) issued a full report in September 2020 on the impact of school closures on children and found:
“i) children comprise a small proportion of diagnosed COVID-19 cases, have less severe illness, and mortality is rare. ii) children do not appear to be a major source of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in households or schools, a finding which has been consistent globally. iii) there are important differences between how influenza and SARS-CoV-2 are transmitted. School closures may be less effective as a prevention measure for COVID-19. iv) school closures can have severe and unintended consequences for children and youth. v) school closures contribute to greater family stress, especially for female caregivers, while families balance child care and home learning with employment demands. vi) family violence may be on the rise during the COVID pandemic, while the closure of schools and childcare centres may create a gap in the safety net for children who are at risk of abuse and neglect.”
Now places like Austria (November 2021) have re-entered the world of lockdown lunacy only to be outmatched by Australia. Indeed, an illustration of the spurious need for these ill-informed actions is that they are being done in the face of clear scientific evidence showing that during strict prior societal lockdowns, school lockdowns, mask mandates, and additional societal restrictions, the number of positive cases went up!
The pandemic response today remains a purely political one.
What follows is the current totality of the body of evidence (available comparative studies and high-level pieces of evidence, reporting, and discussion) on COVID-19 lockdowns, masks, school closures, and mask mandates. There is no conclusive evidence supporting claims that any of these restrictive measures worked to reduce viral transmission or deaths. Lockdowns were ineffective, school closures were ineffective, mask mandates were ineffective, and masks themselves were and are ineffective and harmful.
Editor’s note: Below find the first five studies in Dr. Alexander’s list. Please visit the Brownstone Institute for the entire list of 400.
Table 1: Evidence showing that COVID-19 lockdowns, use of face masks, school closures, and mask mandates were largely ineffective and caused crushing harms
|Study/report title, author, and year published and interactive url link||Predominant study/evidence report finding|
|1) Lockdown Effects on Sars-CoV-2 Transmission – The evidence from Northern Jutland, Kepp, 2021||“Analysis shows that while infection levels decreased, they did so before lockdown was effective, and infection numbers also decreased in neighbour municipalities without mandates…direct spill-over to neighbour municipalities or the simultaneous mass testing do not explain this…data suggest that efficient infection surveillance and voluntary compliance make full lockdowns unnecessary.”|
|2) A country level analysis measuring the impact of government actions, country preparedness and socioeconomic factors on COVID-19 mortality and related health outcomes, Chaudhry, 2020||“Analysis was conducted to assess the impact of timing and type of national health policy/actions undertaken towards COVID-19 mortality and related health outcomes…low levels of national preparedness, scale of testing and population characteristics were associated with increased national case load and overall mortality….in our analysis, full lockdowns and wide-spread COVID-19 testing were not associated with reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality.”|
|3) Full lockdown policies in Western Europe countries have no evident impacts on the COVID-19 epidemic, Meunier, 2020||“Extrapolating pre-lockdown growth rate trends, we provide estimates of the death toll in the absence of any lockdown policies, and show that these strategies might not have saved any life in western Europe. We also show that neighboring countries applying less restrictive social distancing measures (as opposed to police-enforced home containment) experience a very similar time evolution of the epidemic.”|
|4) Effects of non-pharmaceutical interventions on COVID-19: A Tale of Three Models, Chin, 2020||“Inferences on effects of NPIs are non-robust and highly sensitive to model specification. Claimed benefits of lockdown appear grossly exaggerated.”|
|5) Assessing mandatory stay-at-home and business closure effects on the spread of COVID-19, Bendavid, 2020||“Assessing mandatory stay-at-home and business closure effects on the spread of COVID-19…we do not find significant benefits on case growth of more restrictive NPIs. Similar reductions in case growth may be achievable with less-restrictive interventions.”“After subtracting the epidemic and lrNPI effects, we find no clear, significant beneficial effect of mrNPIs on case growth in any country.”“In the framework of this analysis, there is no evidence that more restrictive nonpharmaceutical interventions (‘lockdowns’) contributed substantially to bending the curve of new cases in England, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain or the United States in early 2020.”|
Reprinted with permission from the Brownstone Institute