There’s Still No Evidence that Either Lockdowns or Masks Are “Game Changers”
Data visualization is a wonderful thing. It helps us understand important trends that would be invisible in raw data alone. Now more than ever, data analysts have been instrumental in providing data visualizations that rebut two of the most widely accepted, baseless slogans of the prolockdown, militant mask-wearing crowd: “Lockdowns save lives” and “Wear the damn mask.” The data tell a surprisingly clear story about the effectiveness of mask mandates and lockdowns in stopping the spread of covid-19: both are futile and the latter is deadly.
“Lockdowns Save Lives.”
Without any historical or scientific precedent indicating that lockdowns were even remotely effective at saving lives, governors single-handedly shut down their economies in an effort to quickly do something, anything to slow the spread. Questioning these orders on moral or utilitarian grounds quickly became “questioning the science,” an exceptionally strange slogan for its assumption that any evidence existed that vindicated the efficacy of lockdowns. But after only a few months of lockdown, it first became apparent that there was no correlation between how soon a region locked down and that region’s death toll:
The abysmally low R2 value shows that locking down quickly clearly did not matter, but what about locking down in general? Surely the strictest lockdowns would save more lives, right? Hardly.
If the science was settled on lockdown efficacy, this plot should unambiguously slope downwards, indicating that more stringent lockdowns are more effective at mitigating cases. No such trend exists. Here is a population-adjusted visualization, courtesy of PANDA, that compares a nation’s lockdown stringency with its death toll per million.
Again, if lockdown science is truly settled, the right half of this graph should consist almost entirely of black and red bars—countries with “hard” to “extreme” lockdown stringency—while the left half should consist almost entirely of purple and green bars—countries with “normal” to “light” lockdown stringency. We see no such correlation, and to point out the lack of correlation in any of the above charts will have you anathematized by the mainstream media and their favored health experts.
The Costs of Locking Down
Not only have the lockdowns played no role in disease mitigation, they come with deadly costs. You would think that the prolockdown health officials informing public health decisions would have entertained the potential costs of disrupting global supply chains and forcing hundreds of millions of people to remain shuttered in their homes. No matter. When nations around the globe are at “war” with a virus, immediate action is the only option. Damn the consequences.
What follows are some of the most alarming costs of the lockdowns, costs that are hardly eclipsed by the plethora of anecdotal sob stories floating around on social media. The establishment media and public health officials were doomed to look past these potential consequences because of their monomaniacal fixation on “cases,” a fixation that elevated short-term economic thinking and feel-good policies above all else.
- The New York Times predicts 1.4 million excess tuberculosis deaths alongside nearly 1 million excess malaria and HIV deaths.
- The UN estimates that as many as 130 million people will be at risk of starvation thanks to the lockdown’s disruption of global food supply chains.
- The CDC reported just under 200,000 excess deaths, a 26.5 percent jump from previous years, attributable to covid-19 over a ten-month period; a majority of these deaths affected 25–44-year-olds.
- UNICEF predicted an excess of 1.2 million child deaths (ages 5 and under) over a six-month period
- The Associate Press linked virus-related hunger to 10,000 child deaths per month for the first year of the pandemic
- The CDC conducted a week-long survey in June finding that 25 percent of young adults between 18–24 years of age have considered suicide because of the pandemic.
- CBS cited a study indicating the potential for 75,000 excess deaths of despair: deaths due to drug and alcohol abuse or suicide
- A CDC report found a 31 percent increase in mental health–related emergency room visits for children between the ages of 12 and 17 over a three-month period.
Even The Atlantic now admits that asking people in low- to middle-income countries to stay home is, in many cases, asking them to starve. There is simply no way to justify the claim the lockdowns save lives with a knowledge of t