Harsh lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders to combat the COVID-19 pandemic ruined lives and livelihoods. But they didn’t prevent deaths from the virus.

An analysis by John Hopkins University of thousands of studies worldwide on the impact of government mandates concludes:

“We find little to no evidence that mandated lockdowns in Europe and the United States had a noticeable effect on COVID-19 mortality rates.”

By their analysis, lockdowns reduced mortality rates by a minuscule .02%, and shelter-in-place orders by a similarly insignificant 2.9%, gains likely more than wiped out by suicides and other COVID-linked deaths.

The orders, “contributed to reducing economic activity, raising unemployment, reducing schooling, causing political unrest, contributing to domestic violence, and undermining liberal democracy,” the researchers found.

These are scientists speaking. And what they are saying is politicians such as Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who imposed broad shutdowns when the pandemic hit, weren’t following science, as they claimed, because there was no science to follow. The study notes stay-at-home orders and business closures had never before been part of virus protocols, and there was no evidence they’d work now.

I don’t fault the politicians for taking drastic steps when the virus began spiraling out of control in early 2020. I blame them for sticking stubbornly to them without considering alternatives.

The study finds voluntary measures to limit the spread of the virus were more effective than mandates.

The John Hopkins study found that instead of mitigating the impact of COVID, the shutdowns may have made it worse.

Remember how Whitmer banned the sale of garden supplies and forbade the use of motorboats and golf carts? Here’s what the study has to say about that:

“Lockdowns have limited access to places such as beaches, parks, and zoos … pushing people to meet at less safe (indoor) places. Indeed, we do find some evidence that limiting gatherings was counterproductive and increased COVID-19 mortality.”

For nearly a year, Michigan suspended representative government and vested near total control of the state in one person. Whitmer, drunk on power and driven by personal political ambition, wielded her authority capriciously.

Workplaces and schools were shuttered, access to houses of worship limited, funerals foregone, weddings canceled and the daily personal interactions that keep us human suspended by executive order. We were even told how many visitors we could welcome into our homes.

Those who pushed back against the stripping away of civil liberties were labeled selfish enablers of death, unwilling to sacrifice to keep others alive.

It turns out, as many of us suspected, the economic and social damage caused by the shutdowns was unnecessary.

Our civil rights were constructed to protect us from the tyranny of the common good. And yet it became more virtuous for us to give them away than to fight for them.

Steps should be taken now to assure the next panic won’t plunge us again into dictatorial rule. This concluding line from the study should be stamped above the doors of capitols everywhere:

“Lockdowns should be rejected out of hand as a pandemic policy instrument.”


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