Jonas Herby, Lars Jonung, Steve H. Hanke
The purpose of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to determine the effect of lockdowns on COVID-19 mortality based on available empirical evidence. Lockdowns are defined as the imposition of at least one compulsory, non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPI). We employ a systematic search and screening procedure in which 19,646 studies are identified that could potentially address the purpose of our study. After three levels of screening, 32 studies qualified. Of those, estimates from 22 studies could be converted to standardized measures for inclusion in the meta-analysis. They are separated into three groups: lockdown stringency index studies, shelter-in-place-order (SIPO) studies, and specific NPI studies … The results of our meta-analysis support the conclusion that lockdowns in the spring of 2020 had little to no effect on COVID-19 mortality. This result is consistent with the view that voluntary changes in behavior, such as social distancing, did play an important role in mitigating the pandemic.