Lockdowns and Mask Mandates Do Not Lead to Reduced COVID Transmission Rates or Deaths, New Study Suggests

Aug 26, 2020 by

8.26.20 – AIER

“Lockdowns and Mask Mandates Do Not Lead to Reduced COVID Transmission Rates or Deaths, New Study Suggests”

By Stephen C. Miller

Excerpts from this article:

…The paper’s conclusion is that the data trends observed above likely indicate that nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) – such as lockdowns, closures, travel restrictions, stay-home orders, event bans, quarantines, curfews, and mask mandates – do not seem to affect virus transmission rates overall. 

Given the observation that transmission rates for COVID-19 fell virtually everywhere in the world during this early pandemic period, we [authors of this paper] are concerned that these studies may substantially overstate the role of government-mandated NPIs in reducing disease transmission due to an omitted variable bias. 

One of the key candidates for the key “omitted variable,” i.e. the true cause of the decline in transmission rates after the first month of an epidemic, is that human interaction does not conform to simple epidemiological models. In the real world human social networks overlap in such a way that a virus can spread rapidly for a short period of time, as some people contact more networks than others, but reaches natural dead-ends and roundabouts where potential new hosts in a “new” social network have already been exposed through other networks. The effect can resemble what some think of as “herd immunity,” but at relatively low infection rates.

The authors reason that even if NPIs were effective early on, they do not appear to be anymore:

Moreover, given the observation that disease transmission rates have remained low with relatively low dispersion across locations worldwide for the past several months as NPIs have been lifted, we are concerned that estimates of the effectiveness of NPIs in reducing disease transmission from the earlier period may not be relevant for forecasting the impact of the relaxation of those NPIs in the current period, due to some unobserved switch in regime.

This study provides strong statistical support for what so many have been observing for six months. The epidemic has a natural tendency to spread quickly at first and slow down, seemingly on its own, a point made not only here but as early as April 14 by Isaac Ben-Israel. Meanwhile governors imagine that very specific rules for opening bars and restaurants are the key to containment.

Governments have conducted an unprecedented social, economic, and political experiment in controlling whole populations’ behavior, with high economic and human cost. The authors ask the right question: has this experiment in government-managed virus control and suppression made a difference? The startling answer they found, after examining data from around the country and the world, is that the evidence simply is not there. 

If we are concerned about the evidence on this global experiment, we must concede that most government authorities have likely acted in error.

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1 Comment

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    avis

    I agree.

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