They were separated into three groups: lockdown stringency index studies, shelter-in-placeorder (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.
Finally, allow us to broaden our perspective after presenting our meta-analysis that focuses on the following question: “What does the evidence tell us about the effects of lockdowns on mortality?”
We provide a firm answer to this question: The evidence fails to confirm that lockdowns have a significant effect in reducing COVID-19 mortality. The effect is little to none.
The use of lockdowns is a unique feature of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lockdowns have not been used to such a large extent during any of the pandemics of the past century.
However, lockdowns during the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic have had devastating effects.
They have contributed to reducing economic activity, raising unemployment, reducing schooling, causing political unrest, contributing to domestic violence, and undermining liberal democracy.
These costs to society must be compared to the benefits of lockdowns, which our meta-analysis has shown are marginal at best. Such a standard benefit-cost calculation leads to a strong conclusion: lockdowns should be rejected out of hand as a pandemic policy instrument.