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Johns Hopkins Study Shows Pandemic Lockdowns Failed Spectacularly

Johns Hopkins Study Shows Pandemic Lockdowns Failed Spectacularly

“…a standard benefit-cost calculation leads to a strong conclusion: lockdowns should be rejected out of hand as a pandemic policy instrument.”

In March of 2020, with the data I had in hand, I asserted that the best way to deal with the spread of COVID-19 was to follow the protocol for flu prevention that has been tailored to address the coronavirus. This included no lockdowns but vitamins, exercise, and good ventilation.

In October 2020, thousands of epidemiologists, public health professionals, and scientists signed the Great Barrington Declaration. The recommendations emphasized “focused protection” of the vulnerable and building herd immunity through vaccines AND natural infection recovery.

Anyone not invested in lockdowns because of fear, politics, or ignorance derided restrictions imposed upon millions of people “by experts.”

A new study from Johns Hopkins University confirms that lockdowns failed spectacularly to stop either the spread or resulting deaths.

Lockdowns had “little to no effect” on saving lives during the pandemic — and “should be rejected out of hand as a pandemic policy,” according to economists in a new meta-analysis of dozens of studies.

A group led by the head of Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics analyzed studies from the first surge of the pandemic to investigate widely pushed claims that stringent restrictions would limit deaths.

Instead, the meta-analysis concluded that lockdowns across the US and Europe had only “reduced COVID-19 mortality by 0.2% on average.”

Worse, some of the studies even suggested that limiting gatherings in safe outdoor spots may have been “counterproductive and increased” the death rate, the authors noted.

The paper, entitled ” A Literature Review and Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Lockdowns on COVID-19 Mortality,” was authored by Jonas Herby, Lars Jonung, and Steve H. Hanke. Their findings are extraordinary, and I would like to highlight four reasons the lockdowns didn’t work as advertised.

1. Changes in social behavior cannot be mandated; they work best when people are persuaded to alter their actions voluntarily (e.g., social distancing).

2. Second, mandates only regulate a small portion of the potential contagious contacts and cannot really regulate nor enforce handwashing, coughing etiquette, distancing in supermarkets, or other rules.

3. As predicted, when closed bars and restaurants reopen, the disease will spread again.

4. Finally, and my favorite: Unintended consequences. Forcing people indoors increased their exposure likelihood and chances of infection rather than the reverse. It increased the viral load among those in the same house, causing more severe infections. Limiting shops that could remain open drove up the chance of infections as people were limited to where they could purchase items.

Of course, the greatest of those unintended consequences was the non-covid excess deaths that occurred because of the lockdowns, as well as other long-term problems that we will be dealing with for decades.

From May 2020 to April 2021, the U.S. recorded 100,306 drug overdose deaths, a 28.5% increase from the 78,056 deaths that were recorded in the previous 12-month period, according to CDC data.

A study from the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice last year found that domestic violence incidents increased 8.1% in the U.S. after lockdown orders were issued.

About 97% of U.S. teachers said that their students have experienced learning loss during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Horace Mann survey last year.

…”These costs to society must be compared to the benefits of lockdowns, which our meta-analysis has shown are marginal at best,” the researchers in the Johns Hopkins University study wrote.

“Such a standard benefit-cost calculation leads to a strong conclusion: lockdowns should be rejected out of hand as a pandemic policy instrument.”

We have just had two years of our lives sucked away in the guise of the largest scientific experiment on humans in history.

In part, the loss is directly due to the suppression of free speech. Everyone who argued that lockdowns would not work (as early as March 2020) was classified as “misinformation” by Big Tech, Big Media, and Big Bureaucracy.

Based on this study, it must be asked how many other elements of the pandemic policies still being pushed are ineffective and detrimental? I will now assume all are…based on Science™.


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And no one will ever be held responsible for this horrible policy.

The rest of us could have told you this TWO YEARS ago.

    I did, in March 2020…as noted above.

      chrisboltssr in reply to Leslie Eastman. | February 3, 2022 at 11:28 am

      Exactly. This was a giant con to get Trump out of office.

      You might be jumping the gun a bit, the study hasn’t been peer reviewed yet and some of the authors are controversial. Its also defining lockdowns as any measure including masks on there own. That’s not a great working definition of lockdown and makes no effort to differentiate between Covid measures, indeed lockdowns were made up of multiple measures so untangling all this and then comparing it to mortality is difficult (and one of the flaws of the paper).

      Its also got statistical flaws like using a limited number of countries, and using only the first wave in the data set. There is no effort to differentiate the nature of the lockdown measures between countries its just a mess of data on a graph.

      There are other papers which are peer reviewed which paint a very different picture for example – id refer to fig 1 and 2 which are illustrative.

        mailman in reply to Fatkins. | February 4, 2022 at 5:56 am

        Fatkins, unfortunately for you Real Life ™ events and data tells you to fuck right off. No where on the face of this planet has ANY form of lockdown (be it pointless fucking masks or separation from other humans) worked! We know this for a fact because NO WHERE did the Chinese virus stop spreading during every fucking lockdown that was imposed on us.

        You have basically two options. One, stay home hiding under your kitchen table like the coward you are, or two, get on with your fucking life.

        You keep trusting Government like they have your best interests at heart and we will have to change your pronouns to was/were.

          Fatkins in reply to mailman. | February 4, 2022 at 6:28 am

          Real life data like the one indicated in the study cited for example – like in the UK where lockdown measures were implemented followed by large reductions in infections and mortality – that real life data? Or maybe the low infection rates of multiple countries that implemented them on a consistent basis, that real world data perhaps or would you prefer to use Florida as an example where it has the 11th worst mortality rate of any state in a country with the 17th worst mortality rate per 1m of population in the world?

          “You have basically two options. One, stay home hiding under your kitchen table like the coward you are, or two, get on with your fucking life.” Or like lockdown measures somewhere inbetween like limited social contact or working from where possible

          “You keep trusting Government like they have your best interests at heart and we will have to change your pronouns to was/were.” No one is talking about trusting the government, were talking about real data from multiple sources and everyones lived experience for example my friends who work in a hospital dealing with unvaccinated morons or idiots breaking into hospitals thinking it would be a good idea to film the reception to try and prove that Covid doesn’t exist when all the patients are on the bloody wards.

        Isolden in reply to Fatkins. | February 4, 2022 at 11:39 am

        “On there own” obviously a public school student. Spelling and correct uses of words might help your argument a bit, chum.

          Fatkins in reply to Isolden. | February 5, 2022 at 10:07 am

          Actually it would have zero impact on the argument. If you have nothing of value to say you would have said it. In other words you have no counter argument for any of the points made

How many people were deplatformed from social media sites for saying the same exact thing?

    mailman in reply to TargaGTS. | February 4, 2022 at 5:59 am

    How many people were killed because Democrats hated Trump and wanted him out of office more than anything? Everything Democrats did only made the Chinese virus worse (and deliberately so).

      Fatkins in reply to mailman. | February 4, 2022 at 6:28 am

      What did Democrats do that made Covid 19 worse? just one example will do

        Tom Morrow in reply to Fatkins. | February 4, 2022 at 3:29 pm

        Limited access to treatments such as hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin based treatments. Restricted states’ ability to purchase monoclonal antibody treatments. Put infected people into long-term care facilities, which housed the most vulnerable population.

          Fatkins in reply to Tom Morrow. | February 5, 2022 at 10:12 am

          HCQ has been shown not to be effective, ivermectin has resulted in multiple instances of illness and issues with inappropriate useage. Currently there is little evidence to suggest either way whether ivermectin is good or bad that’s suggestive it’s not an effective treatments

          Actually with respect to monoclonal treatments it’s been rationed between states. There was me thinking that red states wanted to avoid federal help.

          With respect to your point I’ve not seen anything about that do you have a citation?

I proudly wear my Conspiracy Theory Award medal on my tinfoil hat these days. My hat transmits virtual signals that are picked up by my extraterrestrial friends. They think we are nuts.

You didn’t need a study to conclude the obvious. All you needed to do was see who supported lockdowns: The very same people who supported these lockdowns are the ones who will bitch at you if you dare say the government should be shutdown for any reason.

The minute that fraud Tony Fauci and that bitch Sandra Birx suggested to Trump he should support locking down the economy he should have fired both on the spot.

    Fatkins in reply to chrisboltssr. | February 4, 2022 at 1:40 am

    “You didn’t need a study to conclude the obvious” that’s very true, when lockdown measures were introduced infection and mortality rates went down, go figure.

      chrisboltssr in reply to Fatkins. | February 4, 2022 at 1:58 pm

      Except they didn’t. The dumb numbers reported showed cases continued to go up and deaths kept going up too. Don’t come at with your stupid nonsense.

        Fatkins in reply to chrisboltssr. | February 5, 2022 at 2:23 pm

        That’s absolutely not true at all, if you plot the figures on a graph you can see a curve with cases rising exponentially until lockdown measures are introduced after a short delay the figures drop. I’ve already cited a study that has a much stronger basis than the articles cited study which is controversial to say the least.

Agree with your assessment of Fauci and Birx. I personally believe that DJT was poorly served by VP Pence in his position as head of the COVID task force. Pence was worse than useless in many situations…….

A lockdown would only work if you ACTUALLY LOCK DOWN.

First of all, you can’t lock down against a fucking respiratory virus.

Second, the half-assed bullshit of ‘everybody lockdown, except half the people that we call ‘essential’, plus anybody that we grant an ‘exception’ for because they paid us off’, plus anybody that’s running an ‘essential errand’ can go wherever they want’ was worse than useless because it destroyed lives and businesses and yet let the virus continue to circulate just fine.

Anybody with two brain cells to rub together knew that lockdowns were bullshit.

    Fatkins in reply to Olinser. | February 4, 2022 at 1:42 am

    You seem to be both claiming that there wasnt a true lockdown yet that lockdowns didnt work?

      henrybowman in reply to Fatkins. | February 4, 2022 at 2:00 am

      Lockdowns don’t work because a true lockdown is impossible.

        henrybowman in reply to henrybowman. | February 4, 2022 at 2:10 am

        Also, you can’t have a true lockdown unless every square inch on the entire planet cooperates.
        Remember how COVID got here — America was COVID-free, until some mook flew in.

          Fatkins in reply to henrybowman. | February 4, 2022 at 6:16 am

          Thats a pretty spurious definition of a lockdown, its more realistic to say that a lockdown is a general term which could be made of many different measures. The vagueness of the term is another reason why the cited study in the article is so flawed. In effect it claims that any measure aiming to mitigate against covid would qualify as a lockdown.

          “Remember how COVID got here — America was COVID-free, until some mook flew in.” and what does that tell us with respect to efficacy of lockdown measures?

          “Lockdowns don’t work because a true lockdown is impossible” Well that’s debated, I cited a study earlier that provides a coherent analysis of the efficacy of lockdown measures. Its an argument about the extent of lockdowns not that lockdowns don’t work, its pretty controversial to say that lockdown don’t work at all given the corresponding drop in infections from lockdown measures being implemented

Exactly what the Berrington declaration said on day one.

    CommoChief in reply to 2smartforlibs. | February 3, 2022 at 1:40 pm

    Yep. Along many others who could look beyond the immediacy of a policy to correctly warn/forecast highly negative and very costly second and third order effects. It didn’t take a PHD in public heath or immunology to correctly assess and expose the disastrous consequences of lock downs and mandates.

    It continues to amaze me how many people willing continue to put their faith in highly credentialed ‘experts’ who are unable/unwilling to explain or answer undergraduate level questions. When a supposed ‘expert’ can not or will not address the eminently foreseeable consequences of a new policy or provide a sound and logical justification for continuation of an existing policy failure it’s time to grab your wallet and walk away because they want to take you and your $ for a ride.

      Fatkins in reply to CommoChief. | February 4, 2022 at 1:49 am

      That depends how you frame the question, from an epidemiologists perspective the criteria is mortality rate so yes that question was answered in the form of models predicting various scenarios for infection. With respect to the economics question that’s more challenging but actually when you compare countries those who were more consistent and taking harsher measures have from a GDP perspective doing better than those who did not.

        CommoChief in reply to Fatkins. | February 4, 2022 at 7:31 am


        See my comment below for more but here are a couple of points in direct response.

        1. Healthcare impacts only – did lockdown and mandate policies to Covid result in fewer deaths and negative health outcomes when we add back in delayed procedures, deferred testing and screenings/exams, all health care aspects?

        2. GDP isn’t the measure to determine damage to the economy. Why? If every corporation and small business merged with Amazon tomorrow and Amazon then consolidated by shuttering redundancies to increase productivity and profit there would be an increase in unemployment and decreased wages while GDP would rise. That’s the world of ‘Alien’ where everyone works for ‘the corporation’; no thanks. GDP is a handy macro view but it isn’t the only or even the best measure of a strong and vibrant economy. Getting under the hood to look beneath the easy top line is a much more accurate view of the economy.

          Fatkins in reply to CommoChief. | February 4, 2022 at 7:57 am

          1) Absolutely it reduced mortality when factoring in those things, in fact you could argue that having robust policies would mean that there would be a reduction in the knock effect of covid given that hospitals wouldn’t be overwhelmed by covid patients. In effect having policies that attempted a hybrid between open economy and minimal intervention failed on both scores because they ended up having to lockdown anyway which is the implication of the study/blog post I cited.

          2) Im not sure thats a realistic example, in fact that sounds like a fairytale. GDP is one metric for sure and a very useful one, it does provide indirect evidence of the amount of work available in the economy because in effect each worker contributes towards GDP. The fact that other things contribute towards GDP doesnt change that (like efficiencies/automation). What metric are you proposing that would serve better?

          CommoChief in reply to CommoChief. | February 4, 2022 at 10:22 am


          If we use healthcare impacts alone the lockdown and mandates should then result in less excess deaths in the period of lockdown. Is that the case? Of course the number of deaths attributable to lockdown and mandates due to future deaths as a direct result of delayed exams, procedures, diagnosis and treatment will continue to rise.

          Again using impacts relating to health care only can we say that:
          1. Less or more people are staffing hospitals?
          2. Staffing primary care?
          3. Emergency rooms?
          Does reduced hospital staffing result in less beds and ICU slots fully staffed and available today than two years ago?

          Continuing with healthcare impacts how have mandate and lockdown impacted delivery of care for Dentists, Optometrists, Physical Therapy, Mental health, other medical providers and outpatient services we don’t usually associate with hospitals? What’s the total cost in terms of quality of life for patients who didn’t receive care? Did the total number of these providers fall since Fed 2020? What’s the future impact on patient care for these providers?

          Imposing a lockdown and mandate has obvious and intuitive costs to health care beyond simple death totals that have yet to be accounted for in your argument. Here’s an additional one that needs to be quantified; how many people have lost faith in public health officials and will that loss preclude them from willing compliance with future events? How many people and how less willing? Are these disillusioned folks the super spreaders of a future pathogen that is far deadlier? That’s a direct impact.

          I would suggest that the number of small business that open or close is a very important indicator of economic health. Also the number of employed prior v post lockdown and mandate. The impacts on inflation can’t be ignored. These are a few of the easier to quantify metrics that only begin to tell us how much damage was wrought.

          Fatkins in reply to CommoChief. | February 5, 2022 at 10:23 am


          That statistics clearly show a drop in mortality from lockdown measures as per the citation.

          The impact of excessive infection is that hospitals cannot cope or are less able to cope with other procedures IE lockdown measures decrease the number of infections therefore increasing hospital capacity to allow treatments. I’m not clear what the mechanism is for the other way around?

          “Imposing a lockdown and mandate has obvious and intuitive costs to health care beyond simple death totals”

          Does it such as ?

          I think you are reaching, you make a series of questions all of which seem to point in the direction of support for my argument. It’s pretty obvious that if you have an infection disease which reduces staff numbers reducing the the likelihood of infecting health care professionals that means reducing the chances of infections is a good thing.

          Actually the reason there is a reduction in confidence in public health officials is pretend news organisations like Fox news which continuously peddle lies and misinformation. Why people use it as a source of information I really have no idea

          Again with respect to economic damage I have cited an article which indicates countries which were more consistent with lockdown measures have faired better economically

          CommoChief in reply to CommoChief. | February 5, 2022 at 12:55 pm


          When you consistently refuse to address or even respond to legitimate questions and fall back to restating your lodestar argument which does not address the points raised it becomes clear that you are not interested in a debate, discussion or legitimate inquiry.

          Your refusal here is worthy of q trained PR flack and I congratulate you on that aspect. However, you will not convince anyone on the other side of the argument until you are willing to freely and openly debate those with dissenting views.

          This is precisely where our public health officials and much of our medical community find themselves. A large percentage of the public who were initially merely skeptical of the official positions and policies have become hardened into outright distrust of officials because of the refusal to answer basic questions openly and fully.

          When the next issue occurs, and it will, the people you and our public health/medical
          community treat with disdain and indifference by dismissing the skeptics may very well find themselves and their proclamations not only dismissed and ignored but outright refused and resisted.

          When, not if, that occurs the responsibility for consequences which unfold will fall on the shoulders of those who, like you, refuse to even address the issues they raise in our current situation. The borderline contempt displayed today will be reversed into outright day one resistance tomorrow because of these action by officialdom. Fair warning.

          Fatkins in reply to CommoChief. | February 6, 2022 at 8:22 pm


          With respect all you’ve done is merely assert that lockdowns are bad. You’ve not demonstrated or explained any kind of mechanism why the questions you pose would have been an issue as a result of lockdowns. Worse yet my response was that lockdowns reduce the issues you highlight precisely because they reduce rates of infection. That’s applicable to staffing levels, hospital capacity, provision of care, quality of care etc. All those are the same question hence why you got an initial response about hospital capacity.

          The reality is the fact’s don’t really support your position, and thus don’t like the answers you’ve received. That’s your problem, not mine.

    Colonel Travis in reply to 2smartforlibs. | February 3, 2022 at 3:55 pm

    Jay Bhattacharya was saying it long before that. I remember him being interviewed on Uncommon Knowledge very early on in this whole mess. I sent that interview to panicked friends. They all scoffed at him. To this day, they are still in denial.

    People have been so brainwashed, it’s disgusting.

      henrybowman in reply to Colonel Travis. | February 4, 2022 at 2:07 am

      Occasionally, I despair at suffering from the conservative version of cognitive dissonance… which is the belief that every man should have the same rights and the same electoral say as every other man, while simultaneously understanding how irrational and stupid a vast slice of the population consistently proves itself to be.

There is no link to

Lockdowns work but the cost to attain them successfully is too great unless the pandemic is on the scale of a global extinction event. Trump actually said this on advice from people who were quickly shuttered away and branded as heretics by the MSM.

As commenters have said above me, we didn’t really do a lockdown. We did a bunch of half-assed measures that we called a lockdown that were destined to fail. Most of them were led by a little muppet villain looking character that couldn’t contain a fart named Fauci, who had heavily disrupted credibility after his own maskgate failure.

China did the closest thing to a real lockdown when they locked sick people in their homes, quarantined villages, and wouldn’t let them out, and it did actually suppress waves. Of course, they did all of this using totalitarian measures that we simply wouldn’t and shouldn’t accept.

Remember, World War Z? North Korea fought off the zombie pandemic by removing all of the teeth of their entire population. It was effective but at what cost?

    CommoChief in reply to healthguyfsu. | February 3, 2022 at 3:48 pm

    Did the lockdown ‘work’ in China? Do we have a reliable case count or hospitalization count? Death count? The purpose of a lockdown as most us understood it post two weeks to flatten, is to prevent transmission. It doesn’t seem as if China accomplished that goal. How about others Nations, even Island Nations which pursued a zero Covid, wall off lockdown approach? Which ones pursuing this strategy of isolation have prevented the transmission of Covid? I am certainly willing to be convinced but conflating slowing the spread and elimination of spread are two different things. Even using slow the spread to avoid overrun hospitals as a metric how did it actually turn out? How about adding in the future costs of delayed diagnosis or deferred treatment? All the delayed exams and procedures backlog certainly can’t be accommodated at once so didn’t we just swap overruns due to Covid for overruns due to other conditions?

    Even looking at the trade off in healthcare alone does the lockdown for Covid gain in lives saved overcome the lives lost or that will be lost? Same for healthcare industry in terms of avoiding being overrun; how many ICU beds and hospital beds were available based on staffing numbers in February 2020? If staffing has declined which makes less ICU beds and hospital beds truly available in February 2022 than in Feb 2020 is that a true success?

    Once we apply other measures into a true cost benefit analysis; impact on education, small business/main St economy, child development among others it becomes clear that the overall impact of lockdown/mandates is far more negative than an overly simplistic discussion of Covid in isolation. The impacts of lockdown and mandates on every aspect of life can’t be decoupled from Covid policy, that’s what many of us were talking about from day one. It’s also why many of us have lost any faith in our public health officials specifically and the healthcare industry in general. The single minded focus of policy makers and most medical advisors, formal or otherwise, was only about covid. The folks who claimed expertise willingly ignored every other impact in pursuit of Covid perfection to the point of excluding every other eminently foreseeable consequence.

    Evil Otto in reply to healthguyfsu. | February 4, 2022 at 6:01 am

    “Remember, World War Z?”

    Two things: First, World War Z is FICTION. And in the novel, the country of North Korea ends up a dead zone that no one in the world can even enter. The writer in the story speculates that the entire population might consist of zombies even years after the end of the war.

Government Lockdown-Mandates Report Card on Covid

A) Flattening the curve and and saving lives — F

B) Flattening and then sinking the economy — A+

C) Making Big Pharma’s owners very, very wealthy — A+

D) Removing Trump from the WH — A+

E) Increasing size, scope, and power of government — A

Mission Accomplished – Stay the Course
— The DNC

If you believe in Cloward and Piven… it was a nearly complete success.

The delivery and nature of the narrative about Covid fooled so many folks for a variety of reasons. I see the event more as a means of evaluating just how far a population could be pushed to believe in an event. There are so many parallels between the Covid scare with many other events (cold war, climate change, etc.) the ruling class has subjected the people of the planet to. There were so many independent medical and epidemiological folks that new the narrative did not pass the smell test. In the past it would have taken years after the event to see the narrative objectives.

However, since there is so much more information available to so many more today than in the past, the “conspiracy theory” claim has lost it’s impact as day by day we see so many dramatic claims de-materialize. I’ve referred to manifestation of Covid as nothing more than a delivery system to instill further fear and separation of the people, and a lot of folks have jumped on that gravy train.

The current political classes constant push, under the guise of medical science, to screw up the immune system of healthy children should tell any rational thinking person there’s a real problem but it is not the one your told of. As humanoids, our immune systems have evolved for say 20,000 years or so, while the science of injecting chemicals into the body with unknown side effects on the human system is around 100 years old.

So now, we’ll start to see the the “mea culpa” from media and the science community try to regain their status in the public’s perception. And the media will work harder to silence any opposing opinion. Their new problem is can they defuse the resistance?

Wasn’t this the same institution that published a paper in the fall of 2020 regarding there being almost no statistical difference in total deaths vs. the 5-year average? Said paper was scrubbed from existence in the early stages of social media censorship.

“This included no lockdowns but vitamins, exercise, and good ventilation.”

Again…we know for a fact that if you are fit and healthy you have a head start when it comes to the Chinese virus.

BUT did ANY fucking government ANYWHERE encourage their populations to be active and improve their fitness and general well being? The absolute FUCK they did!

Not one single fucking Government ANY fucking where paid any attention to health, wellbeing and fitness! Instead people were forced to stay home out of the sun and be afraid of their shadows and governments did this deliberately!

So fuck them all! Fuck them all to hell!