Evaluating the Effect of Lockdowns On All-Cause Mortality During the COVID Era: Lockdowns Did Not Save Lives

John A. Johnson and Denis Rancourt

The USA and its 50 state jurisdictions provide a natural experiment to test whether excess all-cause deaths can be directly attributed to implementing the social and economic structural large-scale changes induced by ordering general-population lockdowns. Ten states had no lockdown impositions and there are 38 pairs of lockdown/non-lockdown states that share a land border. We find that the regulatory imposition and enforcement of state-wide shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders conclusively correlates with larger health-status-corrected, per capita, all-cause mortality by state. This result is inconsistent with the hypothesis that lockdowns saved lives.

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