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Rand Corp./USC Study Finds COVID Lockdowns Actually Caused Increased Deaths


By:  David Deschesne

Fort Fairfield Journal, July 28, 2021


   A study commissioned by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and conducted by the Rand Corporation and University of Southern California found deaths in the U.S. increased in those areas that imposed mandatory “lockdowns” and other Shelter in Place strategies in an effort to stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2 COVID-19 last year.

   The report, entitled The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Policy Responses on Excess Mortality1 looked at deaths from all causes, not just the alleged deaths from COVID-19 which were purposefully elevated by the US CDC changing the reporting protocols on death certificates last summer to artificially boost those numbers above what they should have been.

   The authors of the report state of the Shelter in Place (SIP) polices, “SIP policies likely have several important unintended consequences” such as “increase stress and anxiety due to social isolation, increases in substance abuse and suicides, increases in child abuse and domestic violence,” and “Recent work also suggests that SIP policies reduced use of high value non-COVID care such as cancer screenings and vaccinations...These complex effects suggest that SIP policies might reduce COVID-19 related mortality, but might also increase mortality from other causes.”

   The report further states, “We fail to find that SIP policies save lives.  To the contrary, we find a positive association between SIP policies and excess deaths.  We find that following the implementation of SIP policies, excess mortality increases.  The increase in excess mortality is statistically significant in the immediate weeks following SIP implementation for the international comparison only.  At the U.S. state-level, excess mortality increases in the immediate weeks following SIP implementation and then trends below zero following 20 weeks of SIP implementation.”

   The report authors also found that lockdowns and SIP policies did not change social distancing practices as much as the bureaucratic wonks philosophized they would, “Some existing studies have used cellular phone mobility tracking and have found that the implementation of SIP policies leads to small changes in mobility with weaker effects on mobility in the U.S. compared to Europe.  Within the U.S. context, there were important differences based on income, with larger increases in physical distancing for individuals in high-income neighborhoods than individuals in low income neighborhoods”

   This difference in income levels suggests that those with higher income scare more easily, accept government propaganda more readily and are simply financially more able to comply with edicts that put the rest of society out of work for an extended period of time.

   The authors of the study also found that “Within the U.S. the number of drug overdoses, unintentional injuries, and homicides increased between March and August 2020.”

   They also noted Social Security data that found excess all-cause mortality during lockdowns was highest in Black people and lowest for White people.

  Using eleven categorical variables to estimate the impact of containment and closure interventions on COVID-19 transmission across countries, the authors found, “none of the interventions had a statistically significant effect.”

   When comparing SIP policies across countries, the study authors observed a “general upward trend, indicating that countries with a longer duration of SIP policies are the ones with higher excess deaths per 100,000 residents in the 24 weeks following a COVID-19 death.”

   They also found that in the weeks prior to the lockdowns, deaths were trending downward but then began trending upward after lockdowns were put in place.  They found this effect across multiple geographic locations. “We find that SIP implementation was associated with an increase in excess mortality.”

   The authors concluded, “...the implementation of SIP policies does not appear to have met the aim of reducing excess mortality...It is also unclear whether modest reductions in mobility could slow the spread of an airborne pathogen.  Second, it is possible that SIP policies increase deaths of despair due to economic and social isolation effects of SIP policies...Third, existing studies suggest that SIP policies led to a reduction in non-COVID-19 health care, which might have contributed to an increase in non-COVID-19 deaths...In light of this evidence, continued reliance on SIP policies to slow COVID-19 transmission may not be optimal.”