Do Lockdowns Work? Research Evidence (24 Studies) Suggests Not

lockdown advertisement notice© Christopher Thomond/The Guardian

Posted by Nikipedia meets Orwell 1984
American Institute for Economic Research SOTT net

The use of universal lockdowns in the event of the appearance of a new pathogen has no precedent. It has been a science experiment in real time, with most of the human population used as lab rats. The costs are legion.

The question is whether lockdowns worked to control the virus in a way that is scientifically verifiable. Based on the following studies, the answer is no and for a variety of reasons: bad data, no correlations, no causal demonstration, anomalous exceptions, and so on. There is no relationship between lockdowns (or whatever else people want to call them to mask their true nature) and virus control.

Perhaps this is a shocking revelation, given that universal social and economic controls are becoming the new orthodoxy. In a saner world, the burden of proof really should belong to the lockdowners, since it is they who overthrew 100 years of public-health wisdom and replaced it with an untested, top-down imposition on freedom and human rights. They never accepted that burden. They took it as axiomatic that a virus could be intimidated and frightened by credentials, edicts, speeches, and masked gendarmes.

The pro-lockdown evidence is shockingly thin, and based largely on comparing real-world outcomes against dire computer-generated forecasts derived from empirically untested models, and then merely positing that stringencies and “nonpharmaceutical interventions” account for the difference between the fictionalized vs. the real outcome. The anti-lockdown studies, on the other hand, are evidence-based, robust, and thorough, grappling with the data we have (with all its flaws) and looking at the results in light of controls on the population.

Much of the following list has been put together by data engineer Ivor Cummins, who has waged a year-long educational effort to upend intellectual support for lockdowns. AIER has added its own and the summaries. The upshot is that the virus is going to do as viruses do, same as always in the history of infectious disease. We have extremely limited control over them, and that which we do have is bound up with time and place. Fear, panic, and coercion are not ideal strategies for managing viruses. Intelligence and medical therapeutics fare much better.


1. “A country level analysis measuring the impact of government actions, country preparedness and socioeconomic factors on COVID-19 mortality and related health outcomes” by Rabail Chaudhry, George Dranitsaris, Talha Mubashir, Justyna Bartoszko, Sheila Riazi. EClinicalMedicine 25 (2020) 100464.

“[F]ull lockdowns and wide-spread COVID-19 testing were not associated with reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality.”

2. “Was Germany’s Corona Lockdown Necessary?” by Christof Kuhbandner, Stefan Homburg, Harald Walach, Stefan Hockertz. Advance: Sage Preprint, June 23, 2020.

“Official data from Germany’s RKI agency suggest strongly that the spread of the coronavirus in Germany receded autonomously, before any interventions became effective


5. “Comment on Flaxman et al. (2020): The illusory effects of non-pharmaceutical interventions on COVID-19 in Europe” by Stefan Homburg and Christof Kuhbandner. June 17, 2020. Advance, Sage Pre-Print.

“In a recent article, Flaxman et al. allege that non-pharmaceutical interventions imposed by 11 European countries saved millions of lives. We show that their methods involve circular reasoning. The purported effects are pure artefacts, which contradict the data. Moreover, we demonstrate that the United Kingdom’s lockdown was both superfluous and ineffective.

6. Professor Ben Israel’s Analysis of virus transmission. April 16, 2020.

“Some may claim that the decline in the number of additional patients every day is a result of the tight lockdown imposed by the government and health authorities. Examining the data of different countries around the world casts a heavy question mark on the above statement. It turns out that a similar pattern – rapid increase in infections that reaches a peak in the sixth week and declines from the eighth week – is common to all countries in which the disease was discovered, regardless of their response policies…”

7. “Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions against COVID-19 in Europe: a quasi-experimental study” by Paul Raymond Hunter, Felipe Colon-Gonzalez, Julii Suzanne Brainard, Steve Rushton. MedRxiv Pre-print May 1, 2020.

“The current epidemic of COVID-19 is unparalleled in recent history as are the social distancing interventions that have led to a significant halt on the economic and social life of so many countries. However, there is very little empirical evidence about which social distancing measures have the most impact… From both sets of modelling, we found that closure of education facilities, prohibiting mass gatherings and closure of some non-essential businesses were associated with reduced incidence whereas stay at home orders and closure of all non-businesses was not associated with any independent additional impact.”

8. “Full lockdown policies in Western Europe countries have no evident impacts on the COVID-19 epidemic” by Thomas Meunier. MedRxiv Pre-print May 1, 2020.

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9 thoughts on “Do Lockdowns Work? Research Evidence (24 Studies) Suggests Not

    • I think that would be difficult to prove one way or the other, Steve. You would need to compare NZ case rates with those of countries with comparable circumstances – early border closures and negligible community transmission. I don’t believe any exist.

      The studies described in this article compare COVID disease rates in countries that used lockdown with countries that didn’t.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What rubbish ! Vietnam, most of Australia, NZ, and a few other places have eliminated Covid. The lockdowns there have worked very well indeed – think of Melbourne/Victoria. Europe has not tried to eliminate but to manage the circulation of the virus. That is what doesn’t work. You can’t have it both ways. If you don’t lock down and eliminate, the virus will always win until it exhausts itself. There’s no sign of that yet.

    And it’s not strictly the “lockdown” that works, either, it’s the hygiene and social distancing that does the job. Lockdowns, by the way, have been used for at least 800 years, maybe more. That’s how some towns avoided the plague in the 1300’s. They shut their gates just like we have shut our border here in NZ.

    Merry Christmas



    • If lockdowns are so effective, why are California and Washington state in the US, the UK, India, Argentina, Germany, and France still having a hard time despite repeated lockdown measures? The fact is, long-term lockdowns don’t prevent people from being stupid behind the government’s back. I’m now convinced all it does is encourages people to disregard good precautions.


  2. Pingback: Do Lockdowns Work? Research Evidence (24 Studies) Suggests Not — The Most Revolutionary Act | FREEDOM MINDS FOR THE AMERICAN REPUBLICS

  3. Are you saying all 24 studies are rubbish, Lowell? How so?

    As for medieval plague management, I think you’re confusing lockdowns, quarantine and border closures. With a lockdown, you quarantine healthy people. With a quarantine, you only quarantine sick people. During the Middle Ages, they closed borders and quarantined sick people. I believe the article is correct that this is the first time they have quarantined healthy people. So it is an experiment in a way, which is why epidemiologists are studying outcomes.

    Liked by 2 people

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