Six months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States has now carried out two large-scale experiments in public health — first, in March and April, the lockdown of the economy to arrest the spread of the virus, and second, since mid-April, the reopening of the economy. The results are in. Counterintuitive though it may be, statistical analysis shows that locking down the economy didn’t contain the disease’s spread, and reopening it didn’t unleash a second wave of infections.
Given the high economic costs and well-documented long-term health consequences beyond COVID-19, imposing lockdowns appears to have been a large policy error. At first, when little was known, officials acted in ways they thought prudent. But now evidence proves that lockdowns were an expensive treatment with serious side effects and no benefit to society.
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