“Stay-At-Home Orders Lethally Backfired”


That’s part of the title of a report about a new study of the effectiveness of COVID-19 lockdowns.  The short answer?  They weren’t just ineffective, they probably made things worse.  Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.

In a new paper, economists from the University of Southern California and the RAND Corporation examined the effectiveness of “shelter-in-place” (SIP) mandates, aka stay-at-home orders, using data from 43 countries and all 50 US states. The experts analyze not just deaths from COVID-19, but “excess deaths,” a measure that compares overall deaths from all causes to a historical baseline.

. . .

“We fail to find that shelter-in-place policies saved lives,” the authors report. Indeed, they conclude that in the weeks following the implementation of these policies, excess mortality actually increases—even though it had typically been declining before the orders took effect. And across all countries, the study finds that a one-week increase in the length of stay-at-home policies corresponds with 2.7 more excess deaths per 100,000 people.

The lockdowns simply didn’t work.

“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,” the authors explain.

And their finding is no outlier. A number of other credible studies have similarly concluded that lockdowns were ineffective at slowing the spread of COVID-19. Plus, other research now shows that most COVID-19 spread occurred at home, not out in the world, making stay-at-home orders all the more absurd in hindsight.

. . .

The takeaway here is not just that stay-at-home orders are an ineffective public policy. It’s that politicians will always claim they can solve our problems if just given enough centralized power.

There’s more at the link.

Note that last sentence quoted above.  Read and re-read it, and then think about the public pronouncements, actions, incompetence and overweening arrogance displayed by governors such as Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan, Gavin Newsom in California, Andrew Cuomo in New York, and many others.  Not only did their policies and decisions help to destroy large parts of the economies of their states, they also very likely contributed, directly or indirectly, to the death of many of their citizens.  The astonishing thing is that many voters in those states will still support them, because their ideological commitment trumps the truth and overrides the facts.

Bottom line:  whenever a politician – any politician, from either side of the political spectrum – says “Trust me!” or “Do as I say, and everything will be all right!”, don’t you believe them.  There may be some honorable exceptions to the rule (very few, I’d say), but most of them aren’t interested in us as individuals at all.  They care only about their powers, privileges and position.  They’ll do whatever it takes to keep them, and blame anyone and everyone but themselves for any problems.  (“But we followed Dr. Fauci’s/the CDC’s/medical guidance!  We weren’t to know it was bad advice!”)  The buck stops anywhere but on their desk, where it properly belongs.

If that means we end up with the short end of the stick . . . well, sucks to be us, doesn’t it?  (At least as far as they’re concerned.)



  1. Since not everyone was locked down, all the time (some were deemed 'essential', even my accountant wife) it was doomed to fail. All it did was create hothouse flowers and delay herd immunity.

    It was always going to kill who it was going to kill.

  2. Nobody ever mentions Jay Inslee in that list but he's just as totalitarian. Maybe worse since he is a true believer and didn't make stupid mistakes by going on vacations and dinner dates while keeping everyone else locked down. At least you can point to French Laundry, Florida vaca, etc but our governor just wanted to make sure people were safe. And got reelected with 61% of the vote.

  3. "The takeaway here is not just that stay-at-home orders are an ineffective public policy."

    Disingenuous. That line is not from the study but from the author of the opinion piece on a political blog.

    From the study

    "In light of this evidence, continued reliance on SIP policies to slow COVID-19 transmission may not be optimal. Instead, the best policy response may be pharmaceutical interventions in the form of vaccinations and therapeutics when they become available. Early evidence suggests that initial vaccination efforts have led to large reductions in COVID-19 incidence (Christie 2021; X. Chen et al. 2021; Haas et al. 2021). Policy efforts to promote vaccination are thus likely to have large positive impacts."


  4. It's kinda hard to "lockdown" rural areas. We went into town to shop. No problems. We came home. No problems. We are the "stealth" people whom you do not see…

  5. "…politicians will always claim they can solve our problems if just given enough centralized power."

    Valid references to Orwell aside, that quote reminds me of one of the characters in Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged." Despite the fact he never was effective at anything he kept yelling he needed, "wider powers".

  6. Correlation Is Not Causation Fallacy.
    Amplified by 3000 untested variables.
    75 yard penalty, and loss of possession.

    Bad science equals bad policy, starting with this jacka@$$ical excuse for a study.

    When the flaw in such errant nonsense can be spotted from space by Stevie Wonder, it's not even science. It's advocacy, wearing a mortar board hat it got from the Halloween Store.

    Just say No to this sort of Covidiocy.

  7. Yeah, fair point, assuming that the lockdowns were intended to "flatten the curve" or "stop the spread". That, however, is one hell of an assumption.

  8. I like to remind folks that we had "two weeks to flatten the curve" and after 15 months of hell…

  9. In early March, 2020, when the “two week lockdown” was first announced, I predicted to friends and family that it would last until right after the November election. Turned out I estimated slightly wrong, but the “vaccines” sure did drop within a week of the election…

  10. I've mainly quit commenting on wuflu issues because it's become religious for most people. By that I mean it has all the characteristics of religious belief, not that a person's religion is necessarily at play.

    Anyway, a couple things about this come to my mind.

    The first being that the "lockdowns" were never lockdowns in the US. There were so many exceptions and 'critical' workers that most people could have found a reason to be out, many did, and almost everyone went grocery shopping anyway.

    The stated purpose of the restrictions was to limit the number of people in hospital care at any one time, with the goal that the number not exceed our ability to care for them and anyone else who needed critical care, and to preserve the health care system. It was not, as the article says and others imply, to reduce the number of deaths overall. With a few notable exceptions, NYC being one, hospitals were NOT overwhelmed and destroyed by the number of people with severe covid. In that regard it worked.

    Anyone who latched on to the "two weeks" nonsense wasn't doing their homework, and didn't even understand the basic math we were aware of at that early time. I don't recall where the "two weeks" originally came from but it was unwisely picked up and repeated by people who should have and probably did know better. Saying that the fantasy number wasn't met is pointless. The number was a lie from the beginning.

    As for people getting covid AT HOME, it didn't spontaneously generate in their houses. SOMEONE in the home WENT OUT and brought it back, and then it spread to the other people they were in close and long term contact with. This is pretty much exactly how it spread for most people- long term or close contact. Families at home were not isolated from one another or even the sick person, as they would have been in the past for other contagious diseases, so it spread in their home. This shouldn't be surprising or news to anyone.



  11. (continued)

    We know a lot more now than we did then, and there has been a truly massive amount of lying and dis- and mis-information in the last year and a half. Go back and read the news for those first few weeks (the orlando sentinel makes it easy, but others are ok). Read your favorite blog that was covering the breaking situation. Especially read the CDC press conferences and releases before FauxXi got involved. The situation looked very different as it was happening than it does in retrospect.


    Finally, if you* haven't made changes in your life because of the last 15 months, WHY NOT? What does your pantry look like? Your medicine chest? What about your gun cabinet? Have you evaluated the sources of information you expose yourself to and then made conscious choices about which are reliable? What about the people you share your precious and fleeting life with?

    If you believe the lockdowns were political and coercive in nature with no medical benefits, how has that changed YOUR LIFE? What are you doing with that information?

    If nothing has changed for you, if your estimation of what the next couple of years hold for all of us hasn't changed, you are going to be just grist for the mill. If all you've done is mutter and wear your mask under your nose in protest, you are so far behind the curve you might not be able to catch up, but I think you should try.


    Prep so that the restrictions, shortages, and price fluctuations have less effect on you. Order your life so that you aren't dependent on .gov, or your single source of income. Reduce your dependence on outside income period. Build relationships that will sustain you and limit the ones that will drain you. Reduce the number of 'handles' your enemies or just those who would manipulate you, have to pull on. Stop wasting time and energy on things that don't improve your ability to get thru the hard times that are already here, and will continue to get worse.

    Looking backwards, past the point where it provides you with guidance to move forward (ie. learning from mistakes), is not a survival trait. Focus on getting thru what's coming.


    *general 'you'

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