Decision to lockdown caused 282 times the loss of years of life says Economics professor

During the Lockdown, Dun Laoghaire, 22 April 2020 Photo Credit: Nerosunero on Flickr under CCLicence

Lockdowns are conferring little benefit, but causing colossal damage, a Economics professor has concluded, using a cost benefit analysis to calculate that strict Covid restrictions caused 282 times the loss of years of life, that it saved. 

Economics Professor Douglas W. Allen, from Simon Fraser University in Canada looked at the effect of loss of employment, loss of education, increased mental health problems, increased domestic violence risk and lost opportunities for healthcare.

He also examined over 80 research papers from around the world that studied lockdowns. He found that many of them employed false assumptions in their calculations, including: the assumption of a overstated reproduction rate for the virus; assuming a infection fatality rate that was too high  and not age dependent; assuming hospital capacity was assumed fixed and unchangeable; and  assuming individuals would not change behavior in the face of a new virus.

This led to analyses which, he believes, greatly overestimated the benefits of lockdowns and underestimated the harm the restrictions would cause.

After comparing regions with and without lockdowns around the world, and after counting the negative effects of lockdown on public health, the economist has calculated that for every year of life lockdowns has saved, it has caused the loss of 282 years of life.

Professor Allen concluded that “Lockdowns have had, at best, a marginal effect on the number of Covid-19 deaths.”

The economics professor published his findings in a report entitled  Covid Lockdown Cost/Benefits: A Critical Assessment of the Literature.

Perhaps the greatest error in the reports and modelling, according to Allen, is the assumption that places without lockdowns would involve people taking zero precautions.

In his study, he performed a cost benefit analysis specifically on life-years saved versus life-years lost due to lockdown measures. He concluded that in Canada lockdown measures saved 22,333 years of life.

However, the cost of lockdown, he calculated was up to 6,300,000 years of lost life. From these figures, he posits that lockdown was 282 times more deadly than no lockdown.

The “seen costs” of covid-19 are clear and can be measured in death counts. This number has been fed constantly to a nervous public for over 14 months now and is the main factor in the continuing public support for lockdown.

However the “unseen costs” of lockdown are not so easy to measure and include lost civil liberty; lost social contact; medical preventions and procedures; impoverishment and economic loss which results in deteriorating health outcomes; lost opportunity in education and career which leads to worsening economic and health outcomes; increased domestic violence; increased anxiety and mental suffering; increased substance abuse; and increased deaths of despair.

These are all unseen costs which can’t be measured immediately, and by the time they are measured they become lost in background statistical noise.

In the coming years these costs will show up in terms of a population-wide falling life expectancy, which will be felt most heavily by the poor, the paper noted.

In Prof. Allen’s assessment, “heavy lockdowns did not meaningfully reduce the number of deaths in the areas where they are implemented, when compared to areas where lockdowns were not implemented or as stringent.”

He was highly critical of the one sided narrative and information suppression of the main stream media, big tech, and the political establishment.

“The ubiquitous media, public health, and political response to the pandemic has been one-sided, incomplete, and almost unchanging over the past year, said Prof. Allen.

“With respect to lockdown policies, many political jurisdictions have repeated the same spring 2020 programs in 2021, ignoring what has been learned in the meantime. Often public announcements were made that were inconsistent with basic Covid-19 facts that were easy to look up if you know where to look. Furthermore, when research results contrary to the official government response were shared on social media, they were often pulled from social media platforms.”

He lambasted politicians who seemed more interested in managing the narrative than in managing public health, and claimed that politicians often take credit for having achieved a reduction in case numbers through their lockdown measures.

“I think it makes perfect sense why they do exactly what they did last year,” Allen said.

“If you were a politician, would you say, ‘We’re not going to lock down because it doesn’t make a difference, and we actually did the equivalent of killing 600,000 people this last year.’”

Allen noted that many of the lockdown costs will not be known for years. “It is possible that lockdown will go down as one of the greatest peacetime policy failures in Canada’s history,” he wrote.

He also noted that governments were slow to produce cost-benefit analysis of the Covid-19 locksdowns.

“Over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been no public evidence that either the federal or provincial governments of Canada have considered both the benefit and cost sides of their policy decisions,” his report notes. “To my knowledge, no government has provided any formal cost/benefit analysis of their actions.”

In Ireland, the government has not produced any cost-benefit analysis for what has been described as the longest lockdown in Europe, with devastating effects expected for the economy, health and housing. Not that they’ve been asked any hard questions about this by most of the media.

 

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