Portraits of Wildflowers

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Archive for February 7th, 2022

Some last ice on Friday

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An hour and a half after entering Great Hills Park on February 4th I’d made a circuit and was almost back out. Then I saw something I hadn’t noticed on the way in: the many icicles that had formed on the vines and slender branches just above a small waterfall. Call it an Art Nouveau chandelier if you like.

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You probably didn’t hear about a January 2022 Johns Hopkins University report in the journal Studies in Applied Economics entitled “A Literature Review and Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Lockdowns on COVID-19 Mortality,” by Jonas Herby, Lars Jonung, and Steve H. Hanke. You probably didn’t hear about it because as of a few days ago, to the best of my knowledge, neither CNN, nor MSNBC, nor ABC, nor NBC, nor CBS, nor The New York Times, nor The Washington Post, nor Reuters, nor The Associated Press, nor USA Today, nor Axios, nor Politico reported it. That’s a lot of nors for institutions supposedly dedicated to the news.

Here’s the abstract of the study:


This systematic review and meta-analysis are designed to determine whether there is empirical evidence to support the belief that “lockdowns” reduce COVID-19 mortality. Lockdowns are defined as the imposition of at least one compulsory, non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPI). NPIs are any government mandate that directly restrict peoples’ possibilities, such as policies that limit internal movement, close schools and businesses, and ban international travel. This study employed a systematic search and screening procedure in which 18,590 studies are identified that could potentially address the belief posed. After three levels of screening, 34 studies ultimately qualified. Of those 34 eligible studies, 24 qualified for inclusion in the meta-analysis. They were separated into three groups: lockdown stringency index studies, shelter-in-place order (SIPO) studies, and specific NPI studies. An analysis of each of these three groups support the conclusion that lockdowns have had little to no effect on COVID-19 mortality. More specifically, stringency index studies find that lockdowns in Europe and the United States only reduced COVID-19 mortality by 0.2% on average. SIPOs were also ineffective, only reducing COVID-19 mortality by 2.9% on average. Specific NPI studies also find no broad-based evidence of noticeable effects on COVID-19 mortality.

While this meta-analysis concludes that lockdowns have had little to no public health effects, they have imposed enormous economic and social costs where they have been adopted. In consequence, lockdown policies are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument.


The authors of the study all hold or have held positions in reputable academic and governmental institutions. I’m in no position as a non-scientist to determine the validity of their report, but their conclusion is so relevant to the pandemic restrictions we’re still living with that you’d think all the organizations I nor’d (past tense of my verb to nor) would want to discuss it, even if only to point out flaws in the study. Instead, they chose not even to mention the conclusion of a scientific study that contradicts the reigning dogma.

In related news, on February 3rd the Associated Press did report that Sweden and several other European countries are removing Covid-19 restrictions: “Among the measures and recommendations that will be lifted, Sweden will allow people to return to restaurants with no limitation on how many people can be there, how much space there should be or opening hours. Requirements for vaccine certificates and wearing face masks on public transportation will also be removed, as well as the recommendation to limit social contacts.”

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 7, 2022 at 4:31 AM

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