A recent Johns Hopkins meta-analysis brought controversy and a discussion of the negative consequences of lockdowns after noting there had been no notable impact on the mortality rates during the first wave of the 2020 pandemic.
According to the report, “They have contributed to reducing economic activity, raising unemployment, reducing schooling, causing political unrest, contributing to domestic violence and undermining liberal democracy” in Europe and the United States.
The report continued, “We find no evidence that lockdowns, school closures, border closures, and limiting gatherings have had a noticeable effect on Covid-19 mortality.”
The study reflected the authors’ views and was not peer-reviewed.
“Our study shows the benefits [of lockdowns] — in terms of fewer deaths — are questionable and small,” explained Jonas Herby, special advisor at the Center for Political Studies in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Herby was co-author of the study, and his research focused on economics and law.
The study of previous studies, or meta-analysis, was completed by Herby, and two other noted economists said that lockdowns have had “devastating effects” as unintended consequences due to lockdowns.
Research contradicts previous studies
The meta-analysis contradicts the most well-known lockdown model, led by epidemiologist Neil Ferguson.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the model was primarily responsible for “driving the world’s response to Covid-19” that “jarred the U.S. and the U.K. to action,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
Ferguson was the co-writer of a prominent, published paper that estimated lockdowns in the spring of 2020 saved 3 million European lives. However, according to other reports, the study excluded the research because it was reliant on modeling.
“This report on the effect of ‘lockdowns’ does not significantly advance our understanding of the relative effectiveness of the plethora of public health measures adopted by different countries to limit Covid-19 transmission,” said Ferguson in a post on Science Media Centre, a liaison of information for health and science journalists in the U.K.
Ferguson resigned from his Science Advisory Group for Emergencies government post in May of 2020 after breaking lockdown protocol when his lover crossed London from her home to visit him during the lockdown.
The researchers at Johns Hopkins acknowledged that they excluded studies like Ferguson’s to avoid biases, including those with “time-dependent factors” like seasonality. Many countries where people experienced lockdowns are now dealing with the aftermath that persists long after lockdowns were lifted.
Dr. Julie Vaishampayan, chair of the public health committee for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, says, “There are long-term health consequences from the virus, including long Covid, and there are long-term mental health impacts from the death due to Covid-19 of a parent, spouse, grandparent, caregiver. There are long-term health impacts of the measures used to slow the spread of this virus.”
According to a recent New York Times report, the impact on school-aged children is also being investigated, including academic struggles after months of online learning.
The Times report also noted that students continue to experience anxiety and loneliness. “Today’s kids will have to shoulder this burden along with diminished skills, thanks to the distance-learning disaster demanded by so many so-called experts in public health.
When asked, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated, “The president has been clear that we are not pushing lockdowns, we have not been pro-lockdown, that has not been his agenda. Most of the lockdowns actually happened under the previous president. What our objective has been is to convey we have the tools we need to keep our country open.”
However, the results of lockdowns continue to be felt.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, which reviewed the psychological impacts of quarantines, the results have been “numerous emotional outcomes, including stress, depression, irritability, insomnia, fear, confusion, anger, frustration, boredom and stigma associated with quarantine, some of which persisted after the quarantine was lifted.”