Monday, January 3, 2022

Lockdowns Are Rooted in Politics, Not Science

Legitimate science is based on the scientific method, a process of inquiry that involves making an observation, asking a question, forming a hypothesis that answers the question, making a prediction based on that hypothesis, doing an experiment to test the hypothesis, analyzing the results, and then determining if the hypothesis is correct. A process that skips any of the above steps is not science. 

In The Fickle "Science" of Lockdowns, Phillip W. Magness and Peter C. Earle review the evidence regarding the effectiveness of lockdowns:

"Follow the science" has been the battle cry of lockdown supporters since the Covid-19 pandemic began. Yet before March 2020, the mainstream scientific community, including the World Health Organization, strongly opposed lockdowns and similar measures against infectious disease.

That judgment came from historical analysis of pandemics and an awareness that society wide restrictions have severe socioeconomic costs and almost entirely speculative benefits. Our pandemic response, premised on lockdowns and closely related "non-pharmaceutical interventions," or NPIs, represented an unprecedented shift in scientific opinion from where it stood a few months before the discovery of Covid-19.

Magness and Earle describe in detail various studies and reports demonstrating that lockdowns are not only ineffective at containing disease but also have harmful effects on society. They note that the empirical evidence regarding lockdowns has not changed since March 2020, and that the reason that public health officials support lockdowns can perhaps best be explained by this analysis from a September 2019 report by Johns Hopkins University's Center for Health Security: "Some NPIs, such as travel restrictions and quarantine, might be pursued for social or political purposes by political leaders, rather than pursued because of public health evidence."

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