Deep Dive

Unlocking the Truth: The Devastating Reality of Lockdowns Revealed


A systematic review of COVID-19 lockdowns by researchers in the U.K. has found that they had a net negative impact.

The stay-at-home orders imposed “substantial social, cultural, and economic costs” while failing to achieve the goal of significantly reducing deaths, the researchers found.

Three years after they were first instituted, the new study called the lockdown measures “a failure of gigantic proportions.”

“Two Weeks to Stop the Spread”

In March 2020 and onward, schools and businesses were shut down while citizens whose livelihoods were not deemed “essential” were encouraged and in some cases compelled by governments to remain in their homes.

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At first, the mantra was “two weeks to stop the spread.” Those two weeks stretched out to years in some places as people were told that even going outside might be unsafe.

People who criticized or refused to abide by COVID orders found themselves chastised by the media and their peers, censored online and even arrested.

Now, a thorough analysis by the Institute of Economic Affairs, a nonpartisan British think tank, vindicates those who were skeptical of the idea of sacrificing personal liberty for a false sense of security.

What Really Happened

Did you trust the lockdowns?

The data compiled by IEA shows how truly ineffective lockdowns were as a public health measure.

Lockdowns, the analysis found, “reduced mortality by 3.2 per cent” compared to countries like Sweden that instituted less stringent measures.

Swedish officials were branded as “reckless” and an example of “blind patriotism” by liberal media outlets in the U.S., such as CNN and The Washington Post.

That is the same corporate media that broadly supported and justified the Black Lives Matter protests and riots during the pandemic but wanted Thanksgiving dinner canceled.

According to IEA’s analysis, lockdowns prevented around 1,700 deaths in England and Wales, 6,000 deaths across the rest of Europe and 4,000 deaths in the U.S.

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When compared to the number of flu deaths in a typical season, those figures are shockingly low.

For example, in England and Wales alone, the annual flu death toll ranges from 18,500 to 24,800 annually, while 38,000 Americans die of the flu every year on average.

The study’s findings undermine initial predictions made by the Imperial College of London, which in March 2020 estimated that lockdowns would save over 400,000 lives in the U.K. and more than 2 million lives in the U.S.

Dr. Lars Jonung, professor emeritus at Sweden’s Lund University and one of the study’s co-authors, described lockdown policies as a “failed promise.”

Jonung wrote, “They had negligible health effects but disastrous economic, social and political costs to society. Most likely lockdowns represent the biggest policy mistake in modern times.”

The researchers pored over almost 20,000 studies and chose 22 for their meta-analysis of mortality data. It suggests that lockdowns yielded little to no overall benefit.

Voluntary actions, rather than compelled isolation, were effective by themselves in reducing COVID-19 transmission.

In contrast, the analysis found that limits placed on gatherings might have actually increased COVID mortality by almost 6 percent.

In some cases, mandates encouraged people to stay in enclosed environments where they were more likely to contract the virus.

The Price Paid

The authors of the study concluded that lockdowns ultimately damaged the mental health of those who lived under them.

Additionally, data from the National Institutes of Health shows a correlation between lockdowns and drug overdose deaths.

In 2019 — the year before lockdowns were instituted — 70,630 Americans died of a drug overdose. That number rose to 91,799 in 2020 and to 106,699 in 2021.

Lockdowns also brought entire economies to an almost complete halt and initiated a historic transfer of wealth from working-class people to those who were already wealthy.

In the U.S., for example, people were paid to stay home from work. The government then sent them checks backed by printed money.

Three years later, millions of people are now burdened with inflation as a direct result of those checks and reckless government spending.

The analysis further found that lockdowns set back children’s health and education, led to an increase in crime, and throttled freedoms.

The IEA concluded that lockdowns should be “rejected out of hand” as a response to future pandemics.

“The science of lockdowns is clear; the data are in: the lives saved were a drop in the bucket compared to the staggering collateral costs imposed,” the study says.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.