The research is in: Lockdowns have had little to no effect on COVID-19 deaths

Numerous studies have come out during the pandemic analyzing whether COVID-19 restrictions have managed to reduce COVID-19 deaths –– which has been their intended goal. I have previously written about some of these studies and how they show that restrictions have had little effect on COVID-19 outcomes, including mortality.

But of course, discrepancies in empirical research findings are common. Often, it is more useful to look at what the total body of evidence indicates in order to get a clearer picture.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have done just that. Their new report scrutinized numerous studies looking at the effect of COVID-19 restrictions on mortality to see what the evidence says.

In their study, the authors looked at about 24 studies measuring the effect of lockdowns on COVID-19 mortality. These studies were, of course, chosen from a larger pile after being evaluated on statistical rigor. Lockdowns, in this case, indicate the presence of any one policy restricting people’s possibilities. This ranges from mask mandates to closing schools or businesses.

Evidence from these 24 studies indicates that restrictions have had minimal to no effect on COVID-19 mortality. Specifically, in the United States and Europe, lockdowns reduced mortality only by 0.2 percent. Shelter-in-place orders only reduced mortality by 2.9 percent.


Studies looking at specific NPIs (lockdown vs. no lockdown, facemasks, closing non-essential businesses, border closures, school closures, and limiting gatherings) also find no broad-based evidence of noticeable effects on COVID-19 mortality.

The costs from these restrictions have, however, been significant, and will continue to be felt by many for the foreseeable future.

With mask mandates as well as other restrictions coming back, this study is a reminder that these measures will wreak havoc yet again without delivering significant benefits. American Experiment research shows that Minneapolis restaurants are already suffering under the new mandates imposed by Mayor Jacob Frey.