Did You See the Johns Hopkins “Study” That Said Lockdowns Were Ineffective?

You didn’t see it here at NewsViews and now right-wing media says we weren’t alone in avoiding it — calling it a media black-out.

In case you missed it, here was one headline:

Johns Hopkins University study finds lockdowns only reduced COVID deaths by 0.2%

A new study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University reveals COVID lockdowns prevented only a small number of deaths caused by the virus.

  • The numbers suggest lockdowns in Europe and the United States reduced the COVID-19 mortality rate by only an average of 0.2%.
  • Shelter-In-Place orders didn’t fare much better, as they only reduced deaths by an average of 2.9%.
  • Researchers did find that lockdown orders caused enormous economic and social costs wherever they were implemented.

–from ABC News

Forbes has shed some light on the “study” that seemed a bit hard to swallow.

While some have been name dropping the “Johns Hopkins study,” apparently it’s not exactly appropriate to suggest that Johns Hopkins commissioned and endorsed the work.

The “study” actually says, “views expressed in each working paper are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the institutions that the authors are affiliated with.” 

And here are the authors:

  • Steve H. Hanke, PhD, a Professor of Applied Economics at Johns Hopkins University and a Senior Fellow at The Cato Institute, an American libertarian think tank.
  • Jonas Herby, MS, a special advisor at Center for Political Studies in Copenhagen, Denmark — NOT from Johns Hopkins University
  • Lars Jonung, PhD, who is a professor emeritus in economics at Lund University, Sweden — NOT from Johns Hopkins University

Oh, and note that Herby, Jonung, and Hanke themselves used the term “working paper” to describe what they had put together. Simply calling it a “Johns Hopkins study” glosses over this important distinction. A working paper is not the same as a peer-reviewed study published in a reputable scientific journal just like how a YouTube video of you getting pelted with sausages would not be the same as a full-length Hollywood movie. Basically, anyone who has access to the Internet, a laptop/smartphone, and opposable thumbs, can post a “working paper” on a website. So while it is clear that meerkats alone did not write and post this working paper, take anything that it said with 17 Ugg boots full of salt.

Furthermore, of the 34 “studies” included in the review, 12 of them were actually “working papers.” In fact, 14 of the “studies” were actually from economists with only one being from an epidemiologist.