A Johns Hopkins University meta-analysis released in January found that lockdowns across Europe and the U.S. reduced the COVID-19 mortality by 0.2%.

The researchers’ analysis of “lockdown measures” included school closures, business closures, bans on international travel and internal movement, and other nonpharmaceutical government mandates such as mask mandates.


The study also found that shelter-in-place orders were ineffective, reducing mortality by only 2.9%.

“While this meta-analysis concludes that lockdowns have had little to no public health effects, they have imposed enormous economic and social cost,” the study concluded. “In consequence, lockdown policies are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument.”

”Lockdowns have limited peoples’ access to safe (outdoor) places such as beaches, parks, and zoos, or included outdoor mask mandates or strict outdoor gathering restrictions, pushing people to meet at less safe (indoor) places,” the researchers noted. “We do find some evidence that limiting gatherings was counterproductive and increased COVID-19 mortality.”

Johns Hopkins University itself made classes fully remote in the fall 2020 semester and urged students not to travel to Baltimore before moving to a partially in-person model in the spring 2021 semester. The school still imposes a mask mandate, requiring two masks or a surgical-grade mask, despite nearly universal vaccination of students and staff, a booster shot, and a twice-weekly testing requirement.

COVID-19-related school closures, government-imposed mask mandates, and restrictions on travel are still prevalent in the U.S. and internationally.

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