Researchers say voluntary measures could achieve same results of restrictive orders
Lockdowns may have no more effect on the spread of the coronavirus pandemic than other voluntary measures, such as social distancing or travel reduction, a new peer reviewed study has found.
The research, published in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation on January 5, tracked the growth of COVID infections in 10 different countries in early 2020.
The researchers, affiliated with Stanford University, have compared states that imposed strict lockdowns and business closures -- England, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the US -- to South Korea and Sweden that employed less severe measures, focusing instead on voluntary instructions.
The study concluded that “While small benefits cannot be excluded, we do not find significant benefits on case growth of more restrictive NPIs [non pharmaceutical interventions]. Similar reductions in case growth may be achievable with less restrictive interventions.”
The researchers further stated that “We do not question the role of all public health interventions, or of coordinated communications about the epidemic, but we fail to find an additional benefit of stay-at-home orders and business closures.”
However, the scholars are known to have been vocally critical of the lockdowns, co-author Prof Jay Bhattacharya being among the conceivers of The Great Barrington Declaration, a document that calls to end the lockdown policy and shift toward a focused protection plan of at-risk groups.