One Year After Revolver’s Classic Piece Exposing Dangers Of Lockdowns, “Science” Finally Catches Up
June 22, 2021 (1mo ago)

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Two brand new studies from the National Bureau of Economic Research completely vindicate Revolver’s own reporting over the past year: Mass lockdowns in the name of combating coronavirus ended and abbreviated more lives than they they saved.

And in the end, they didn’t even save lives.

The first study, by four academics affiliated with the RAND Corporation and the University of Southern California, analyzed the impact of shelter-in-place orders on excess mortality around the globe and found that, on average, such orders increased the volume of excess deaths:

As a way of slowing COVID-19 transmission, many countries and U.S. states implemented shelter-in-place (SIP) policies. However, the effects of SIP policies on public health are a priori ambiguous as they might have unintended adverse effects on health. The effect of SIP policies on COVID-19 transmission and physical mobility is mixed. To understand the net effects of SIP policies, we measure the change in excess deaths following the implementation of SIP policies in 43 countries and all U.S. states. We use an event study framework to quantify changes in the number of excess deaths after the implementation of a SIP policy. We find that following the implementation of SIP policies, excess mortality increases. The increase in excess mortality is statistically significant in the immediate weeks following SIP implementation for the international comparison only and occurs despite the fact that there was a decline in the number of excess deaths prior to the implementation of the policy. At the U.S. state-level, excess mortality increases in the immediate weeks following SIP introduction and then trends below zero following 20 weeks of SIP implementation. We failed to find that countries or U.S. states that implemented SIP policies earlier, and in which SIP policies had longer to operate, had lower excess deaths than countries/U.S. states that were slower to implement SIP policies. We also failed to observe differences in excess death trends before and after the implementation of SIP policies based on pre-SIP COVID-19 death rates. [NBER]

After exhaustively reviewing mortality data in dozens of countries, the paper concludes:

[T]he implementation of SIP policies does not appear to have met the aim of reducing excess mortality. There are several potential explanations for this finding. First, it is possible that SIP policies do not slow COVID-19 transmission. As discussed earlier, prior studies find only a modest effect of SIP policies on mobility. A potential reason for the modest impact on mobility may be that individuals change behavior to avoid COVID-19 risk even in the absence of SIP policies. It is also unclear whether modest reductions in mobility could slow the spread of an airborne pathogen. Second, it is possible that SIP policies increased deaths of despair due to economic and social isolation effects of SIP policies. Recent estimates in the U.S between March and August 2020 show that drug overdoses, homicides, and unintentional injuries increased in 2020, while suicides declined (Faust et al. 2021). Third, existing studies suggest that SIP policies led to a reduction in non-COVID-19 health care, which might have contributed to an increase in non-COVID-19 deaths. [NBER]

Remarkably, the study finds that lockdowns were of almost no value without even evaluating the economic impact of them.

The second study, by a team affiliated with the World Bank, the University of Michigan, and the National University of Singapore, is even more bleak. Around the world, whatever lives lockdowns managed to save were being offset by increased death rates for children.

In lower-income countries, the economic contractions that accompany lockdowns to contain the spread of COVID-19 can increase child mortality, counteracting the mortality reductions achieved by the lockdown. To formalize and quantify this effect, we build a macro-susceptible-infected-recovered model that features heterogeneous agents and a country-group-specific relationship between economic downturns and child mortality, and calibrate it to data for 85 countries across all income levels. We find that in low-income countries, a lockdown can potentially lead to 1.76 children’s lives lost due to the economic contraction per COVID-19 fatality averted. The ratio stands at 0.59 and 0.06 in lower-middle and upper-middle income countries, respectively. As a result, in some countries lockdowns actually can produce net increases in mortality. The optimal lockdowns are shorter and milder in poorer countries than in rich ones, and never produce a net mortality increase. [NBER]

For those whose eyes glazed over reading that, the upshot is this: In poorer countries, the economic impact of COVID-19 lockdowns by itself was enough to raise child mortality by 1.76 children for every coronavirus death the lockdown prevented. In lower-middle income countries, the economic damage of lockdowns will kill one child for every two Covid deaths averted, and even in upper-middle income countries, every 19 coronavirus deaths prevented is offset by one dead child.

In the study’s model, only low-income countries have a literal increase in deaths due to the lockdown compared to the one without it. But it’s not as simple as a one-to-one comparison in human lives. A child who dies due to increased infant mortality loses far more of his or her life than an octogenarian who dies an avoidable death from coronavirus. That is why in any serious calculation about the tradeoffs of lockdowns or other public health policies, calculations must be made in life-years rather than straightforward human lives.

This was at the heart of Revolver’s own report on coronavirus lockdowns published ten months ago, which was featured by Tucker Carlson on Fox:

While much of the planet was still gripped by lockdown panic, Revolver laid out the devastating reality: That the economic dislocation of lockdowns would be far deadlier in the long-term than the ephemeral danger of COVID-19:

  • Standard approaches to evaluating epidemic policy responses, involving the Value of a Statistical Life, have conceptual problems and are biased towards the elderly and rich.
  • Using a life-years criterion as an alternative shows that the lockdowns cost an order of magnitude more life-years than they saved.
  • Most of the publicized cost-benefit analyses of COVID-19 lockdowns have used coarse measures like lives as units rather than life-years, which misleads politicians and the general public. COVID-19 deaths disproportionately impact the oldest members of the population, whereas the economic impacts of lockdowns disproportionately harm the youngest of the working population, who have far greater life expectancies at the time of impact.
  • Using prior research on workforce entrants and recent graduates entering into a market marred by an economic recession, empirical estimates of life-years lost can be determined. Extensive research on job displacement can be used to estimate the economic impact in life-years of starkly increased unemployment for mid-to-late career workers.
  • Combining these analyses, we found that an estimated 18.7 million life-years will be lost in the United States due to the COVID-19 lockdowns. Comparative data analysis between nations shows that the lockdowns in the United States likely had a minimal effect in saving life-years. Using two different comparison groups, we estimate that the COVID-19 lockdowns in the U.S. saved between a quarter to three quarters of a million life-years.

READ MORE: Revolver Exclusive Study — COVID-19 Lockdowns Over 10 Times More Deadly Than Pandemic Itself

Much like the modern economy is a dramatic wealth transfer from the young to the old, coronavirus lockdowns involved an intergenerational transfer of life itself. Through increased infant mortality and other calamities, the young were sacrificed to perpetuate the lives of the very old. And yet, as the first NBER study above indicates, this evil sacrifice wasn’t even effective, as lockdowns failed to have any significant impact on death rates. 

Thankfully, coronavirus lockdown policies are finally ending across the whole country, nearly a year after it became clear how worthless they were. They must not be allowed to return.Already, public health extremists are hyping up the “Delta variant,” practically giddy that they might get to do this all over again next winter.

Infectious disease modelers are showing how a variant like Delta could make a Covid-19 comeback later this year.

Faced with a more transmissible variant, “it looks like we do see a resurgence late in the summer, or in the early fall,” said Justin Lessler, an epidemiologist with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Lessler has been working with contributors from a dozen other institutions on the Covid-19 Scenario Modeling Hub to forecast the pandemic.

The most recent model finds that a Delta-like variant that’s assumed to be 60% more transmissible than Alpha, coupled with 75% of eligible Americans getting vaccinated, can result in Covid-19 bouncing back from summer lows to cause more than 3,000 deaths per week at various points during the fall and winter — coinciding with children returning to school and weather that pushes people back indoors. … While it may feel like the country has turned a corner, Rubin warned “the pandemic hasn’t ended.” [CNN]

If there is any noticeable surge at all in coronavirus cases later this year, or in the years to come, there will be enormous pressure from the left to bring back tyrannical lockdowns. Conservatives categorically must never allow this to happen.The most destructive event of 2020 was not the coronavirus. COVID-19 isn’t what kept you from visiting your parents. COVID-19 didn’t force your children to stay locked up at home for a year for no reason. COVID-19 didn’t wreck half of your town’s small businesses. COVID-19 didn’t strip you of your freedom of speech. It was the enforcement of ruling class lockdowns that did that. 

COVID-19 shows that America’s “expert” class is fundamentally broken. Simple common-sense policies, like those enacted by South Dakota, proved vastly better than the insane theater foisted on the country by “public health experts.” Lockdowns weren’t the product of a bad cost-benefit analysis. They were the product of a ruling class that never made a cost-benefit analysis at all.

Well, come to think of it, maybe they did a cost benefit analysis after all:

A new report from Oxfam found that the world’s billionaires didn’t just recoup losses from the coronavirus: Their collective wealth increase could pay for the entire world’s vaccinations and prevent anyone from falling into poverty.

“The increase in the wealth of the 10 richest billionaires since the crisis began is more than enough to prevent anyone on Earth from falling into poverty because of the virus and to pay for a COVID-19 vaccine for all,” the report said.

Worldwide, billionaires saw their wealth increase by $3.9 trillion between March 18 and December 31, 2020. While billionaires saw initial losses at the start of the pandemic — like millions of others around the globe — the report says they had recovered all losses by November. [Business Insider]

For a year, America was ruled by tyrants who chose policies based on panic, a desire to look tough, or a simple herd mentality. When politics dictated that the lockdowns weren’t useful (such as when they would prevent people from protesting en masse after the death of George Floyd), the lockdowns vanished.

Now, the same corrupt ruling class that oversaw the hideously evil lockdowns wants the authority to remake criminal justice, education, the economy, America itself. They need to be stripped of their power entirely.

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