A recent study that compared more-restrictive NPIs (i.e. mandatory stay-at-home orders and business closures) to less-restrictive NPIs, and (unlike some studies) teased out the the effects of the latter from the former, did not find significant benefits on the course of a country's epicurve from the former, and perhaps even a perverse effect. And another study finds an uncanny resemblance between the shapes of the epicurves of each virus wave in nearly every country in the world regardless of what they did for the most part. This also works when comparing states and localities as well, by the way. And worse, yet another study finds that the harms of lockdowns may very exceed the supposed benefits by a factor of TEN.
But hey, we could've told you that nine months ago.
In other words, with very few exceptions, the strictest lockdown countries and states sure "flattened the curve" all right--VERTICALLY. If such extraordinary restrictions are applied too late, it is like gasoline on the fire. And when applied earlier, it may delay things a bit before exploding sooner or later, but the more it does when it does. But ultimately, it does not make much if any difference in terms of the progress of the virus once it becomes widespread enough. Thus, early lockdowns are unnecessary compared to less-restrictive NPIs, late lockdowns are truly worse than useless, and both cause unnecessary and utterly preventable collateral damage.
So what do we call doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?
UPDATE: Still another study, this time in the Northern Jutland region of Denmark where some areas had strict lockdowns while others didn't, finds no detectable difference in COVID rates between lockdown and non-lockdown locations. Lockdowns apparently did not stop or even slow down transmission of the virus. If the results of that natural experiment are not the final nail in the coffin for lockdowns, we really don't know what is.
And the UK? Well, COVID infections were apparently already dropping before Lockdown 2.0 went into effect, and already rising again before the lockdown was relaxed. Thus, the correlation with cases and deaths is most likely spurious and unrelated, and the lockdown clearly didn't do a lick of good. But of course that didn't stop Boris from implementing Lockdown 3.0, which will likely last longer than the first two lockdowns combined. The first time was naive, the second time was stupid, and the third time is truly the very height of thick-headedness!
And yet again, true to form, early evidence suggests that for Lockdown 3.0, infections also already peaked before that one would have had any sort of effect either. In other words, the powers that be have a tendency to impose or tighten lockdown restrictions right around the peak, and then take credit for declines in cases that would have occurred regardless.
Oh, and school closures? Yet another study came out showing that the lockdown zealots were wrong and that we at the TSAP were essentially right all along, namely that keeping schools open and fairly normal, even in times and places of significant community spread, and even without masks, does NOT lead to disaster for students, teachers, or anyone else. And again, we could have told you that nine months ago.
STOP PRESS: Be sure to also check out the ever-insightful Toby Young's excellent rebuttal to turncoat Christopher Snowdon's pro-lockdown piece, and Young's second rebuttal to Snowdon's rejoinder as well. He debunks, debones, slices, dices, and juliennes the perpetually flimsy case for lockdowns, and pretty much lays waste to its remains.
Oh and by the way, Sweden, who famously eschewed lockdowns and barely even wore any masks, had a lower excess death rate for 2020 than most of Europe did. Their COVID death rate was about average for Europe while their excess all-cause mortality was in fact better than average. Kinda like how wide-open Florida did better than the USA average.