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U.S. professors say COVID-19 lockdowns ‘had little effect on the spread of the coronavirus’

A recently published book explains in detail that there is no 'decisive drop' in cases due to stay-at-home mandates.
Tue Oct 6, 2020 - 7:19 pm EST
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COVID-19 lockdowns resulted in empty streets. Shutterstock

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October 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Three U.S. professors argue that government-“mandated lockdowns” in the name of stopping COVID-19 had “little effect on the spread of the coronavirus.”  

“If lockdowns really altered the course of this pandemic, then coronavirus case counts should have clearly dropped whenever and wherever lockdowns took place. The effect should have been obvious, though with a time lag,” wrote professors Jay W. Richards, William M. Briggs, and Douglas Axe in an October 4 report published in the National Review

“It takes time for new coronavirus infections to be officially counted, so we would expect the numbers to plummet as soon as the waiting time was over …  To judge from the evidence, the answer is clear: Mandated lockdowns had little effect on the spread of the coronavirus.” 

In the National Review report, the professors asked, “Did the lockdowns make a difference?” 

They provided evidence through charts for 13 U.S. states with and without lockdowns. 

“The charts ... show the daily case curves for the United States as a whole and for 13 U.S. states. As in almost every country, we consistently see a steep climb as the virus spreads, followed by a transition to a flatter curve. At some point, the curves always slope downward, though this wasn’t obvious for all states until the summer,” the professors wrote. 

“The lockdowns can’t be the cause of these transitions. In the first place, the transition happened even in places without lockdown orders (see Iowa and Arkansas). And where there were lockdowns, the transitions tended to occur well before the lockdowns could have had any serious effect.”

The professors explained the only exception could be California and Connecticut, which were the first states to lock down. 

“Even in these places (California and Connecticut), though, the downward transitions probably started before the lockdowns could have altered the curves. The reason is that a one-day turnaround for COVID-19 test results probably wasn’t met in either state,” the professors wrote. 

The professors also pointed out that there is no “decisive drop on the dates” whereby the lockdowns would have affected the course of the curve. They also claim that if one is shown the curves in the charts without markings, they would not be able to tell when lockdowns took effect. 

“Instead, the curves gradually bend downward for reasons that predate the lockdowns, with no clear changes 10 days later,” they wrote. 

“Lockdown partisans might say that the curves would have been higher after the 10-day mark without the lockdown. While we can’t redo history to prove them wrong, the point is that the sudden and dramatic changes we should see if they were right aren’t there. If we showed people these curves without any markings, they would not be able to discern when or even if lockdowns went into effect.”

The professors’ charts are cited from a book they recently published titled The Price of Panic: How the Tyranny of Experts Turned a Pandemic into a Catastrophe.

Their National Review report concluded with them saying the scenario in the viruses’ decline is “likely attributable” to changing seasons or herd immunity. 

“Something caused this overall decline. It couldn’t have been lockdowns, which weren’t maintained (or heeded) in full force through June. At the moment, we can only speculate,”  the professors wrote.

“But if this virus is like others, its decline is likely attributable to some mix of changing seasons and the gradual onset of herd immunity. Another factor, of course, could be the widespread use of masks as the year progressed.”

The professors' book, The Price of Panic, goes over the COVID-19 crisis, asking questions such as “How did politicians, who know nothing of the science, decide whom to trust?”

The book also asks, “What role have national and global health organizations such as WHO played in this? To whom are they accountable?” along with “How did science bureaucrats, relying on murky data and speculative computer models, gain the power to shut down the global economy?”

In summary, The Price of Panic asked, “We need to know what and how it happened, to keep it from ever happening again.”

Richards is an assistant research professor in the School of Business and Economics at The Catholic University of America, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, executive editor of The Stream and a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute. 

Axe is the Maxwell Professor of Molecular Biology at Biola University and the founding director of Biologic Institute.

Briggs' website lists him as a previous professor at the Cornell Medical School and former statistician at DoubleClick. His website also says he is a “wholly independent vagabond writer, statistician, scientist and consultant.” 


  coronavirus, covid-19, douglas axe, herd immunity, jay w. richards, lockdowns, national review, the price of panic, william m. briggs

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