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(LifeSiteNews) — Political leaders have championed lockdowns and economic restrictions as necessary for protecting the public health and slowing the spread of COVID, but a new comprehensive report said they did not work.

In addition to wrecking economies and creating unemployment, the public health measures did not even substantially reduce hospitalizations or death.

“The economic benefits from more severe actions seem to be related only to reduced COVID cases and not hospitalizations or deaths,” the Georgia Center for Opportunity wrote in its 510-page report. The right-leaning think tank produced the 50-state review in collaboration with the Texas Public Policy Foundation and researchers at Southern Methodist University and Emory University.

The researchers ran a number of statistical tests and collected data points from every state. They concluded there is “statistically significant evidence that the severity of governmental actions was negatively associated with employment 12 months and 15 months after the initiation of the pandemic.”

The paper’s data sources included labor statistics, population surveys and other economic information. The analysts ran 204 forecasts to test the variables.

At most, the rigorous analysis found that the shutdowns were associated with fewer COVID cases overall, but not to a lowered mortality or hospitalization rate.

The analysis said that “the economic tradeoff of higher job loss due to more severe governmental actions were suppressed COVID cases.”

“COVID hospitalizations and deaths failed the statistical tests for correlations, i.e., the relationships appear to be random,” the researchers said.

“The evidence shows an associated harmful and measurable impact on nonfarm employment more than a year after the initiation of the pandemic,” the lengthy research paper said. “However, the evidence suggests that the economic tradeoff was not for less COVID hospitalizations and deaths as many would have hoped. Only COVID cases have an association with the severity of governmental actions.”

The researchers urged “targeted” approaches to any future restrictions and said public officials “need to take this evidence into consideration when crafting policies and imposing economic restrictions during times of prolonged crises.”

Policymakers must be “mindful to reduce the impact on employment that can harm people’s livelihoods and have long-term consequences.”

The researchers found the results “disturbing.”

They ran bivariate regression tests, which directly test the relationship between two variables.

“The six bivariate regressions between the severity of governmental action indexes with COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths showed negative correlations for cases but not for hospitalizations and deaths,” the report said. “The lack of a statistical association with COVID hospitalizations or COVID deaths is disturbing.”

The researchers said “it would be more comforting” if the restrictions led to more lives saved or fewer hospitalizations, “but this study failed to find empirical evidence to support that claim.”

Finally, the team commented on a separate paper that said “high-quality nursing homes” generally contained COVID spread better, but had “higher non-COVID deaths.”

The higher death rate could be “due to loneliness indicating other costs of the lockdowns.”

Canadian professor reaches similar conclusion

A professor at Simon Fraser University in Canada has reached similar conclusions about the costs and benefits of lockdowns.

“An examination of over 100 Covid-19 studies reveals that many relied on false assumptions that over-estimated the benefits and under-estimated the costs of lockdown,” Douglas Allen said in a paper. “The most recent research has shown that lockdowns have had, at best, a marginal effect on the number of Covid-19 deaths.”

It is possible “the lockdown will go down as one of the greatest peacetime policy failures in Canada’s history,” Allen said.