Lockdowns were “a global policy failure of gigantic proportions”, driven by Government fear campaigns and “fantasy numbers” from dud models, a top international team of researchers has concluded. The Epoch Times has more.
The days of Covid lockdowns may be behind us for the time being, but a multinational academic team has conducted a broad analysis of government pandemic actions and found them to be “a global policy failure of gigantic proportions”, often driven by state and media-sponsored fear campaigns.
Their findings, published in a book titled ‘Did Lockdowns Work? The Verdict on Covid Restrictions‘, are based on a worldwide meta-analysis that screened nearly 20,000 studies to determine the benefits and harms from health diktats, including lockdowns, school closures and mask mandates. According to economist Steve Hanke, one of the co-authors, one of the things that drove countries into a state of panic and draconian policies was reliance on mortality models from sources like Imperial College London (ICL) that generated “fantasy numbers” showing that millions of deaths could be averted by instituting crippling society-wide lockdowns.
Prior to the Covid outbreak, “most countries did have a plan to deal with pandemics”, Hanke told the Epoch Times, “but after the Imperial College of London’s ‘numbers’ were published, those plans were, in a panic, thrown out the window.
“In each case, the same pattern was followed: flawed modelling, hair-raising predictions of disaster that missed the mark and no lessons learned,” he said. “The same mistakes were repeated over and over again and were never challenged.”
Hanke is an economics professor and co-director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise. The other co-authors of the study are Jonas Herby, special adviser at the Centre for Political Studies in Copenhagen, and Lars Jonung, an economics professor at Lund University in Sweden.
While the meta-analysis surveyed thousands of studies, it found that only 22 of them contained useful data for the study. The report focused on mortality rates and lockdown policies during 2020.
“This study is the first all-encompassing evaluation of the research on the effectiveness of mandatory restrictions on mortality,” Jonung stated. “It demonstrates that lockdowns were a failed promise. They had negligible health effects but disastrous economic, social and political costs to society.”
According to Hanke, the ICL models predicted that lockdowns would prevent between 1.7 million and 2.2 million deaths in the United States. The meta-analysis, however, indicates that lockdowns prevented between 4,345 and 15,586 deaths in the United States. This fits a pattern of overstated predictions from the ICL, which health officials either didn’t know about or overlooked, he said.
“There is a long history of fantasy numbers generated by the epidemiological models used by the Imperial College of London,” Hanke said. “Its dreadful record started with the U.K. foot-and-mouth disease epidemic in 2001, during which the Imperial College models predicted that daily case incidences would peak at 420. But, at the time, the number of incidences had already peaked at just over 50 and was falling.”
In 2002, the ICL predicted that up to 150,000 people in the U.K. would die from mad cow disease; in 2019, the BBC reported that the number of U.K. deaths from mad cow disease was 177. In 2005, Neil Ferguson, who led the ICL [team], predicted up to 200 million deaths from the H5N1 bird flu, which had at that time killed 65 people in Asia; according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), between 2003 and 2023, 458 people died from H5N1 worldwide.
The ICL’s habit of ‘crying wolf’ did not prevent the BBC, once COVID-19 struck, from relying on its data to broadcast dire weekly warnings to its 468 million listeners, in 42 languages worldwide.
“Maybe the Imperial College models are ideal fear-generating machines for politicians and governments that crave more power,” Hanke said. “H.L. Mencken put his finger on this phenomenon long ago when he wrote that ‘the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins.’”
While there were some U.S. states that never issued lockdown orders, including Wyoming, Utah, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Arkansas, Sweden was the rare national exception that refrained from forcing people into lockdowns. American governors who refused to lock down their states were harshly criticised in the media, which predicted that this would cause mass deaths.
Worth reading in full.