In the midst of the pandemic, state politicians across the United States "listened to the science" and locked down their states. The problem? There's ample science that shows locking down is a bad idea.
General Lockdown Efficacy Studies
Larochelambert et al. (2020) looked at 160 countries and their mortality rates from Covid-19 during the first 8 months of 2020.
- The stringency of the measures to fight the pandemic, including lockdown, wasn't found to be linked with the death rate.
Chaudhry et al. (2020) analyzed 50 countries to assess the impact of timing and severity of mitigation efforts on Covid-19 mortality rates.
- Increased mortality per million was significantly associated with higher obesity prevalence.
- Rapid border closures, full lockdowns, and widespread testing were not associated with COVID-19 mortality per million people.
Bjørnskov. (2020) looked at mortality rates from 24 European countries.
"I find no clear association between lockdown policies and mortality development."
Atekneson et al. (2020): The growth rates of daily deaths from COVID-19 fell from a wide range of initially high levels to levels close to zero within 20-30 days after each region experienced 25 cumulative deaths.
- The removal of lockdown policies has had little effect on transmission rates.
Loewenthal et al. (2020): Countries that enforced a strict lockdown could have obtained similar mortality figures with less stringent mobility restrictions.
- The time at which social distancing is initiated highly correlates with the number of deaths.
- No association was observed between the lockdown strictness (or its duration) to the number of deaths.
Colombo et al. (2020) criticizes prior models used to test pandemic mitigation efficacy, which assume everyone is equally susceptible to the virus; they are not.
- Models that take that into account favor herd immunity mitigation rather than other interventions.
Cohen and Lipsitch. (2008): For those pathogens that cause more severe disease among hosts of older age, interventions that limit transmission can paradoxically increase the burden of disease in a population.
Forbes et al. (2020): Living with children 0-11 years was not associated with increased risks of Covid infection. Living with children 12-18 years was associated with a small increased risk of infection, but not associated with any other outcomes.
- They found no consistent changes in risk following school closure.
Letizia et al. (2020): Investigated Covid infections among U.S. Marine Corps recruits who underwent a strict quarantine and lockdown process.
- Although recruits underwent a strict quarantine process with testing, 2% still tested positive.
- Further reading on this study.
Maxwell, Ph.D. et al. (2020): Households are and will continue to be important venues for transmission, even in areas where community transmission is reduced.
European Lockdowns Analysis
Born et al. (2020): In the absence of a lockdown, Swedes adjusted their activities considerably, and in similar ways to countries that did have forced lockdowns.
- Found that a lockdown would not have helped in terms of limiting COVID-19 infections or deaths in Sweden.
Kuhbandner et al. (2020): They studied Germany's lockdown to see if it was necessary. Data suggested that the spread of COVID in Germany receded autonomously before any interventions were effective.
Wood. (2020) looked at the UK's lockdown to see if it was effective and found that infections were in decline before full U.K. lockdown.
Additional Notes and Analysis
Berdine, MD: The data suggest that lockdowns have not prevented any deaths from Covid-19.
Telegraph: Lockdowns may actually prevent a natural weakening of this disease.
Cao et al. (2020): No asymptotic spread of COVID. A total of 1174 close contacts of the asymptomatic positive cases were traced, and they all tested negative for the COVID-19.