November 19, 2020 Reading Time: 2 minutes

A team of Irish medical and public health professionals recently published a White Paper entitled “COVID-19 Alternative Strategy: A Case for Health and Socioeconomic Wellbeing,” calling for an “evidence-based” approach to pandemic management. In the paper, the team provides a cost-benefit analysis of lockdowns and scrutinizes their overall efficacy while citing extensive supporting research. They find excessive costs associated with lockdowns compared to their intended benefits. The paper’s findings suggest that a second set of lockdown measures will be even more detrimental, especially given their hypothesis that the virus is transitioning from its initial epidemic stage to endemic stage.

The paper shows that testing and lockdown strategies are ineffective in lowering Covid-19 deaths. PCR tests are not reliable and tend to overestimate the number of people sick with Covid-19, which misinforms policy decisions. The 2020 mortality and virus-related hospitalization rates also do not deviate drastically from previous years, suggesting Covid-19 did not create a significant increase in mortality. In addition, they demonstrate that there is no correlation between lower mortality and more stringent lockdowns. 

Although the authors suggest the idea of “Flatten the Curve” might have been a suitable strategy at first for the purpose of not overwhelming hospitals, they find that there are significant unintended consequences of lockdowns, especially regarding public health. The majority of Covid-19 deaths occur in people close to life expectancy, while lockdown-induced deaths occur in young people far from life expectancy, resulting in a high number of total life years lost. The authors cite various studies showing that children, adolescents, women, individuals with young children, and at-risk individuals are experiencing diminished mental health. They also report that cancer and cardiovascular deaths are increasing due to lockdowns because less people are receiving necessary screenings or going to hospitals.

In its conclusion, the White Paper recommends four overarching strategies consistent with the 2019 WHO and Irish pandemic guidelines, including the removal of lockdowns and a focused protection of the vulnerable. Overall, this paper is an impressive study on lockdowns and presents a mountain of evidence that demonstrates lockdowns are not only ineffective but harmful to people and must be stopped to maintain a healthy society.

Amelia Janaskie

Amelia Janaskie is a Research Associate at the American Institute for Economic Research. She graduated from the College of Charleston Honors College in May 2020 with a B.S. in Economics and minor in English. During her time in college, she was a Market Process Scholar with the Center for Public Choice and Market Process.

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