Toby has a new piece in Mail+ today, in which he says he was publicly shamed and vilified in March 2020 for saying lockdowns won’t work, but now has evidence they were a disaster.
A new report by one of America’s leading universities has concluded that the lockdowns imposed across the world over the past two years have had “little to no” effect on saving lives.
According to the Centre for Applied Economics at Johns Hopkins, the lockdowns in Europe and the United States only succeeded in reducing Covid mortality by 0.2%.
This conclusion wasn’t based on a single study, but on what academics called a ‘meta-study’.
That is, the economists at Johns Hopkins looked at 24 different empirical studies that examined the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) on reducing Covid deaths.
The research the authors compiled on stay-at-home orders found that they had slightly more impact than lockdowns, reducing Covid mortality by 2.9%. But studies of specific NPIs (facemasks, closing non-essential businesses, border closures, school closures, limits on social gatherings) found there was “no broad-based evidence” to suggest they had a great impact on Covid deaths. One exception to the rule was closing non-essential businesses, which reduced Covid deaths by 10.6%.
However, the economists found that limits on the number of people who could gather in one place, such as the rule of six, may have increased Covid mortality by 1.6%.
The negative impact of the interventions, on the other hand, was enormous, with GDP in 2020-21 shrinking by 9.9%, with an estimated cost of £250 billion. There was also the social cost and the cost to children’s education, with a report this week from the Centre for Social Justice finding that 100,000 children still haven’t returned to school. Plus, of course, “the NHS became, to all intents and purposes, a Covid-only service”, leading to a projected up to 12 million people being on the NHS waiting list by 2025, according to the National Audit Office.
No wonder, says Toby, the authors of the Johns Hopkins report conclude that “lockdown policies are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument”.
This is a personal vindication, Toby says.