Nate Jackson / October 6, 2020

Did the Lockdowns Work?

A new study looks at the effect on the pandemic from shutting down the economy.

“15 days to slow the spread.” Those were the original White House guidelines released on March 16 when it became clear that the coronavirus posed a serious threat. Here we are more than 200 days later, and there are still numerous lockdown restrictions in many parts of the country. Certainly, COVID proved too formidable for a brief fight, but far too many Democrat officials saw a political opportunity to do damage to the economy and thus hurt the reelection chances of President Donald Trump.

We’ve said all along that limited lockdowns would have been better — quarantine and protect older and more vulnerable Americans while letting the economy continue to function as close to normal as possible. Comprehensive lockdowns did more harm than good.

Which brings us to another study arguing just that. Professors Doug Axe, William Briggs, and Jay W. Richards authored The Price of Panic: How the Tyranny of Experts Turned a Pandemic into a Catastrophe. In the book, the trio explores a fundamental question: “Did the lockdowns make a difference?”

“If lockdowns really altered the course of this pandemic, then coronavirus case counts should have clearly dropped whenever and wherever lockdowns took place,” they write in a National Review op-ed. “The effect should have been obvious.”

Unfortunately, they conclude, it wasn’t. “To judge from the evidence, the answer is clear: Mandated lockdowns had little effect on the spread of the coronavirus.” Using a series of charts for several states, they look for a spike in cases, the date of the lockdown (if any), and the “transition to a flatter curve” or any decline in cases.

What did they find?

“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 only possible exceptions are California, which on March 19 became the first state to officially lock down, and Connecticut, which followed four days later. Even in these places, though, the downward transitions probably started before the lockdowns could have altered the curves.”

In fact, “If we showed people these curves without any markings, they would not be able to discern when or even if lockdowns went into effect.”

An alternative timeline will never be known. All we can do is evaluate what was done and what actually happened. But from the available evidence, it doesn’t seem that creating a massive recession to achieve a negligible effect on the pandemic was worth it.

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2021 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.