The nation’s economy is on track to drop by more than 30% in the second quarter. Unemployment is well into the double digits. Half of small businesses might close in the next six months. All for naught, it would appear, giving the growing pile of evidence that the economic lockdowns didn’t work.
The latest evidence comes from a report out of JP Morgan Chase & Co. this week. It finds that there’s been no increase in cases or deaths as other nations and U.S. states start reopening. This flies directly in the face of all the public health expert predictions of a major spike once people started moving about.
“Virtually everywhere, infection rates have declined after reopening, even after allowing for an appropriate measurement lag,” says the report’s author, Marko Kolanovic, a quantitative strategist at JPMorgan. “This means that the pandemic and COVID-19 likely have (their) own dynamics unrelated to often inconsistent lockdown measures that were being implemented.”
Another research paper released in early May, this one by Thomas A. J. Meunier of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, found that the lockdowns in western Europe had no evident impact on the epidemic.
“Comparing the trajectory of the epidemic before and after the lockdown, we find no evidence of any discontinuity in the growth rate, doubling time, and reproduction number trends,” Meunier says.
In the United Kingdom, the disease reached its peak on April 8, which, given the way it progresses, means the peak infection was around March 18, according to Oxford University professor Carl Heneghan. That’s almost a week before the UK went into lockdown mode.
Bloomberg’s Elaine He looked at the data from Europe, compared it with their different strategies to deal with the outbreak, and concluded that “there’s little correlation between the severity of a nation’s restrictions and whether it managed to curb excess fatalities.
Meanwhile, India’s massive lockdown – the largest in the world – is coming under attack for being ineffective. India now has more than 100,000 confirmed cases and is seeing the fastest growth in South Asia.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the lockdown has failed,” an epidemiologist who is a member of the Indian government’s coronavirus task force told The Caravan magazine. “Social distancing, wearing masks, and hand hygiene work. Together, these measures reduce the rate of transmission. However, to date, there is no evidence that lockdowns can cut down transmission.”
And Sweden, which had come under harsh attack from public health experts for not imposing an all-out lockdown, is now being held up by the World Health Organization as a model for the future.
Dr. Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergencies expert, said that “Sweden represents a model if we wish to get back to a society in which we don’t have lockdowns.”
Instead of issuing stay-at-home orders and forced business closures, Ryan said Sweden “put in place a very strong public policy around social distancing, around caring and protecting people in long-term care facilities.”
As we noted recently, Swedish infectious disease expert Johan Giesecke, writing in the medical journal Lancet, says “It has become clear that a hard lockdown does not protect old and frail people living in care homes — a population the lockdown was designed to protect. Neither does it decrease mortality from COVID-19, which is evident when comparing the United Kingdom’s experience with that of other European countries.”
We also pointed to a paper by Lyman Stone, an adjunct fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, which looked at the available evidence and concluded simply that “lockdowns don’t work.” Stone found the death rate climbing after the lockdowns went into effect in the U.S.
Don’t expect anyone to admit they were wrong. The public health community – which has been peddling wildly exaggerated predictions of deaths – will never do so. Nor will Democrats and the press – which are committed to the narrative that every death in the U.S. is President Donald Trump’s fault. Trump isn’t likely to, either, since he agreed to shutting down the economy after he started taking his cues from public health doomsayers.
This isn’t to say that no action was needed to cope with this uncharted virus. That’s not the argument any of these researchers are making. What they are saying is that the lockdowns weren’t based on sound science, and that far less intrusive measures would likely have been just as effective, if not more so, without destroying the economy.
To be sure, there are studies claiming that the lockdowns reduced infections and saved lives.
But as JP Morgan’s Kolanovic noted, “Unlike rigorous testing of potential new drugs, lockdowns were administered with little consideration that they might not only cause economic devastation but potentially more deaths than COVID-19 itself.”
Where’s the “party of science” when you need it?
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board