COVID-19 lockdowns could be responsible for claiming 20 times more lives than they were advertised to save, according to a new analysis published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
The paper, which bases its conclusions on a comprehensive review of other relevant, lockdown-focused literature, was authored by researchers at the Jerusalem College of Technology.
“In this work, we performed a narrative review of the works studying the above effectiveness, as well as the historic experience of previous pandemics and risk-benefit analysis based on the connection of health and wealth,” summarized the article, titled “Are Lockdowns Effective in Managing Pandemics?”
“The comparative analysis of different countries showed that the assumption of lockdowns’ effectiveness cannot be supported by evidence—neither regarding the present COVID-19 pandemic, nor regarding the 1918–1920 Spanish Flu and other less-severe pandemics in the past,” argue the researchers.
The team proceeds to quantify the estimated number of lives lost due to the COVID-19 mitigation measure, which drew strong support from Democrats and public health officials including Anthony Fauci, Deborah Birx, and Mike Pence:
The price tag of lockdowns in terms of public health is high: by using the known connection between health and wealth, we estimate that lockdowns may claim 20 times more life years than they save.
The paper also exposes how governments and international health organizations’ embrace of lockdowns was at odds with their stance on the public health policy prior to COVID-19.
“It should be mentioned that the same conclusions—no clear benefit of lockdowns in case of pandemic—were made by national and international bodies before COVID-19 emerged. Namely, several governments prepared detailed plans of response to influenza- like pandemics years ago—see the programs of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (2007) and the Israeli Ministry of Health (2007),”
Researchers singled out the World Health Organization (WHO), which published a comprehensive 91-page preparedness plan in October of 2019 that explicitly mentioned that:
• social distancing measures “can be highly disruptive” and should be carefully weighted;
• travel-related measures are “unlikely to be successful”; “border closures may be
considered only by small island nations in severe pandemics”;
• and contact tracing and quarantine of exposed individuals are not recommended in any
The paper doesn’t argue that lockdowns were merely ineffective; however, adding that they actually claimed the lives of the people public health officials claimed to be protecting.
“The lockdown policies had a direct side effect of increasing mortality. Hospitals in Europe and USA were prepared to manage pretty small groups of highly contagious patients, while unprepared for a much more probable challenge—large-scale contagion. As a result, public health care facilities and nursing homes often became vehicles of contamination themselves—to a large extent because of the lockdown-based emergency policy implementation,” explained the paper, citing New York as an example.
“While our understanding of viral transmission mechanisms leads to the assumption that lockdowns may be an effective pandemic management tool, this assumption cannot be supported by the evidence-based analysis of the present COVID-19 pandemic, as well as of the 1918–1920 H1N1 influenza type-A pandemic (the Spanish Flu) and numerous less-severe pandemics in the past,” concludes the paper.