As Biden's pandemic ratings tank, study finds lockdowns had 'little to no public health effects'

Most Americans now oppose vaccine passports, a reversal from September, tracking poll finds.

Updated: February 2, 2022 - 11:15pm

COVID-19 narratives promoted by federal regulators and enforced by Big Tech for nearly two years are faltering as more researchers probe questions long deemed too controversial to study.

Johns Hopkins University's Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise concluded that lockdown policies "have had little to no public health effects" while imposing "enormous economic and social costs."

Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of U.S. and European studies of possible relationships between lockdown policies and COVID "mortality or excess mortality," prompted by two international studies that countered Imperial College London's staggering estimates of COVID deaths without lockdown.

One found that daily-death growth rates fell "close to zero within 20-30 days" of each region hitting 25 deaths, and the other found "government policies are strongly driven by the policies initiated in other countries" rather than a given country's own COVID situation.

Led by Johns Hopkins professor and institute founder Steve Hanke, the international team reviewed 34 studies, two-thirds peer-reviewed and 29 of which had data cutoffs before September 2020, roughly the first six months of pandemic response in the Western world. 

The studies were split into three groups. The "stringency index" studies, which use an Oxford-designed composite of nine nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), found 0.2% average mortality reduction, while "shelter-in-place order" studies found a 2.9% reduction. 

Specific NPI studies of government mandates that "limit internal movement, close schools and businesses, and ban international travel" found "no broad-based evidence of noticeable effects on COVID-19 mortality."

The Johns Hopkins working paper is not peer-reviewed, but it largely reaffirms a year-old peer-reviewed study published in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation

One of that study's coauthors, Stanford Medical School meta-research pioneer John Ioannidis, put a target on his back for early research suggesting COVID was much more pervasive and less lethal than thought. BuzzFeed News claimed Ioannidis knowingly hid funding from an anti-lockdown CEO, which he denied.

The "infection fatality rate" estimates by Ioannidis are roughly in line with the CDC's "best estimate," however. His December update of global "seroprevalance" data for the first year of COVID cut the IFR in half among several age groups, including young people.

Biden's pandemic rating 'underwater'

The American public is growing increasingly weary of COVID mandates, according to a Monmouth University poll published Monday.

Their views on proof-of-vaccination requirements have inverted since September, with 53% in January opposing passports in offices and settings with other people. Support for adopting or reinstating mask mandates in their own state is still a majority (52%) but has fallen from 63% in September. 

Thirty-seven percent said they are unlikely to get a booster, including 17% holding out on initial COVID vaccination. Nearly twice as many (45%) had been boosted by January as by December (24%).

Asked if "Covid is here to stay and we just need to get on with our lives," seven in 10 said yes. The partisan split was stark, with nearly twice as many Republicans (89%) as Democrats (47%) agreeing and independents near the average (71%).

The weariness is taking a toll on President Biden's pandemic ratings, which hit a new low in Monmouth's tracking. Only 43% say he's done a good job, the first time this metric has dipped "underwater," and 53% say he's done a bad job.

His COVID adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, fares better but remains polarizing with an approval-disapproval rating of 52-47% in a December Gallup survey