I have seen papers that claimed lockdowns were effective. In all cases these papers compared actual post lockdown infections to model projections or pre-lockdown numbers. There are inherent problems with both approaches. The models have been so absurdly wrong that anything looks good to them. Comparing pre and post lockdown numbers ignores that the infection has a natural arc. It is very difficult to determine if the effects are natural and unrelated to the lockdown.
Lockdowns have perpetuated precisely because it is difficult to evaluate them. Politician’s also have no incentive to evaluate them. Politicians do not care about being wrong. They only care about whether voters know they are wrong. That is precisely why Politicians spend a lot of time convincing you they are right and no time trying to be right. The more effort politicians make to prove they are right, the more horribly wrong they are.
Lockdowns are difficult but not impossible to evaluate. I found this interesting article today. They took a very simple approach to evaluating lockdown effectiveness.
Not all lockdowns are created equal. Every place did something different at a different time. Ironically, this allows us to do the one thing politicians do not want us to do; evaluate if the different approaches resulted in different outcomes. We do not have to compare to models or before and after numbers. We can compare lockdown to lockdown.
The authors ranked lockdown severity based on 14 criteria listed below.
- Requirement to Wear a Face Mask in Public: Double Weight (~8.16 Points)
- Travel Restrictions: Full Weight (~4.08 Points)
- Large Gatherings Restrictions: Triple Weight (~12.24 Points)
- Statewide School Restart: Double Weight (~8.16 Points)
- Reopening of Restaurants and Bars: Quadruple Weight (~16.33 Points)
- State Guidance on Customer Health Checks at Restaurants: Full Weight (~4.08 Points)
- Reopening of Non-Essential Businesses: Double Weight (~8.16 Points)
- Legislation on Business Immunity from COVID-19 Claims: Double Weight (~8.16 Points)
- Working from Home Requirements/Recommendations: Double Weight (~8.16 Points)
- Workplace Temperature Screening: Half Weight (~2.04 Points)
- Strictness of “Shelter in Place” Order: Triple Weight (~12.24 Points)
- Presence of Multistate Agreements to Reopen: Full Weight (~4.08 Points)
- Guidance on Elective Medical Procedures: Half Weight (~2.04 Points)
- Guidance for Assisted Living Facilities Related to COVID-19: Half Weight (~2.04 Points)
If lockdowns work, there should be some correlation to the severity of the lockdown and the outcome. The most important outcome is deaths. After all, we were told incessantly that masks and lockdowns saved lives. So, did they? If you are reading this blog, you probably already know the answer to that.
I am not sure why they bothered to color code the 4 groups. The plot tells the story without shading. In the US there was absolutely no correlation between lockdown severity and deaths/capita. A light lockdown produced the same random scatter as a more stringent lockdown. The virus decided how many people died, not government.
If a heavy hand had the same results as a light touch we need to ask, why did we do anything? It is easy to say that there is no harm in being cautious but that simply is not true. There was one firm and completely predictable correlation. The harsher the lockdown the higher the unemployment.
Governments dismissed the effects of the restrictions. They felt that if they did not close a business completely there would be no change in employment. This is something that politicians never seem to understand. Excessive regulation kills businesses as effectively as high taxes. With most businesses the first 50 to 70% of the business just covers your costs. You have not made any profit yet. The last 30 to 50% of your business is 100% of your profit.
Allowing a business to open at 50% capacity gives them no chance to make a profit. Especially after you raised their costs with other equally destructive regulations. Restricting capacities and hours is something so stupid only a government could think of it.
There are clearly no benefits to a lockdown, and they come at a horrible cost. It is long past time to drop them. If a private citizen did this much damage, they would find themselves in Prison. That is the discussion we need to have now. Who should go to prison over the lockdowns?