Lockdowns Are Pointless and Incredibly Damaging

By July 31, 2020Commentary

The New York Times headline today was something like “The Virus Wipes Out 5 Years of Growth”, referring to the incredible decline in US GDP in the second quarter.  No, the “virus” didn’t do that, unless you mean the insidious virus of incompetent political non-leadership.  That economic damage was caused by the reaction to the epidemic–the LOCKDOWNS!  People are putting out all kind of BS modeling studies, claiming the lockdowns prevented cases, deaths, etc.  I believe there is a real possibility the lockdowns made things worse, given what we know about the ubiquity of household transmission.  If you look at country after country, with a few exceptions, like Sweden, there are pretty classic epidemic curves, which alone would suggest limited utility of lockdowns in “flattening the curve”.  And the lockdowns are exacting a horrific human toll–job loss, business closings, missed health care leading to deaths and worsened status, overdoses, food insecurity, and on and on.  The chart below, which was done by Todd Kenyon and posted on Twitter, shows little relationship between lockdowns and epidemic outcomes.

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