Data Shows Government Shut-Downs Do Not Slow or Prevent Coronavirus Spread, Expert Claims


Montana, like 45 other states, significantly locked down the economy and enforced tough restrictions against travel, commerce, and physical interaction. After immeasurable damage has been done to local economies in order to prevent a virus that is so inconsequential most that have it never even know, medical experts are now suggesting that there is no evidence at all to suggest such lockdowns work to prevent the spread of the Wuhan Flu.

Wilfred Riley explained the data at the popular online outlet, Spiked, which was later republished at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity. Riley does not suggest that social distancing did not affect the spread of the Wuhan Flu, but rather that government-enforced travel and commerce lockdowns had no mitigating effect on the spread. Simply put, what people were willing to do themselves worked. What people were demanded to do by the government didn’t work.

Riley says, “I have analysed data from the Worldometers Coronavirus project, along with information about the population, population density, median income, median age and diversity of each US state, to determine whether states that have adopted lockdowns or ‘shelter in place’ orders experience fewer Covid-19 cases and deaths than those which pursue a social-distancing strategy without a formal lockdown. I then briefly extend this analysis to compare countries. In short, I do not find that lockdowns are a more effective way of handling coronavirus than well-done social-distancing measures.”

According to Riley, states without oppressive lock-down measurers faired well in coronavirus cases against states who imposed lock-down measurers, even when adjusting figures to account for lower population density in some of those states.

Riley writes, “Those seven states are Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. These states reported 1,620, 2,141, 952, 343, 1,311, 2,542 and 288 cases of Covid-19 respectively as of 3:40pm EST on 16 April – for an average of 1,321 cases. The states reported 37, 60, 21, 9, 7, 20, and 2 deaths respectively, for an average of 22.3 deaths. Throwing in South Carolina, which did not adopt a shelter-in-place order until 6 April, and still allows most religious services, does not dramatically alter these figures – these states averaged 1,613 cases and 33 deaths.

He then concludes, “How do these states measure up to the rest of the US? Rather well. According to Worldometers, by the same time the number of officially tested Covid-19 cases across the US states – including Guam, Puerto Rico, and Washington, DC – ranged from 226,343 in New York to 135 in Guam. The average number of Covid cases in a US state was 12,520. The state-by-state number of deaths varied from 16,251 (New York) to two (Wyoming), with the average figure for deaths being 642. Removing the outlier case of New York state, where roughly half of all US Covid-19 deaths have taken place, shifted these figures downward somewhat – to 8,408 cases and 342 deaths in the average state. However, the social-distancing states experienced substantially fewer cases and deaths than the lockdown states, even with New York out of the mix.

Riley’s model holds true even when accounting for population density. He also ran a regressive model, a computerized mathematical technique that allows researchers to measure the influence of one variable on another with all of the other factors. The variables he chose were population, population density, median income, median age, diversity (measured as the percentage of minorities in a population), and the state’s Covid-19 response strategy (a government-enforced lockdown or voluntary social distancing).

Riley asserted, “The question the model set out to ask was whether lockdown states experience fewer Covid-19 cases and deaths than social-distancing states, adjusted for all of the above variables. The answer? No.

He added, “A top-quality team from Stanford University has pointed out that the infection rate for Covid-19 must logically be far higher than the official tested rate, and the fatality rate for the virus could thus be much closer to 0.1 percent than the 2 to 4 percent that was initially expected. And empirical analyses of national and regional response strategies, including this one, do not necessarily find that costly lockdowns work better against the virus than social distancing.”


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