- - Monday, February 7, 2022

We’ve had enough. To be sure, many of us had had enough before government officials launched the very first lockdown — we could see where this was headed, and we knew it would not be pretty. For others, it’s taken two long years to get to this point. All over the world, increasing numbers have concluded that their government’s responses to COVID-19 were misguided from the start, and they are demanding change. With the release of a new academic study last week that shows that lockdowns had “little to no effect” on mortality rates and “should be rejected out of hand as a pandemic policy,” we are left wondering — why has President Biden not simply declared the lockdown and vaccine mandate policy over?

In Canada, truckers formed a 40-mile “Freedom Convoy” and brought traffic to a standstill for days in the nation’s capital. In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government hangs by a thread resulting from opposition to his COVID-19 lockdowns. In France, President Emmanuel Macron threatens the unvaccinated. In Australia, citizens are copying the truckers in Canada — protesters formed a similar “Convoy to Canberra.” And here in the United States, just a few Sundays ago, 30,000 fellow citizens gathered in freezing temperatures at the Lincoln Memorial to employ their First Amendment rights to protest vaccine mandates and plan their own trucker convoy.

In the U.K., the backlash against the prime minister was further fueled when it was revealed that he had hosted parties at 10 Downing Street while his government was enforcing a strict lockdown policy. Too many in the media misunderstand the backlash — they tell us it’s because Mr. Johnson wasn’t following his own rules, he was being a hypocrite, he was being an elitist. 

They’re wrong. The opposition to Mr. Johnson arose because of the universal demand for freedom. It’s because of the rules themselves. It’s because Britons are thinking to themselves, “You didn’t let ME party. You put those rules in place, and you kept them in place, even when you knew those rules were stupid, and you could have done away with them, but you didn’t.”

The issue is not that Mr. Johnson engaged in reckless behavior that could have killed people; the issue is that he engaged in partying, which he knew was not going to kill anyone, but he left the rules in place anyway — and then, even after no one dropped dead from his parties, he continued to leave those rules in place.

Here in America, as elsewhere, the tide of public opinion is turning. A recent survey shows that opposition to vaccine mandates had surged, with a 16-point swing toward the pro-freedom side over the last 120 days: When asked, “Do you support or oppose requiring people to show proof of vaccination in order to go to work in an office or setting where they are around other people?” the numbers have flipped from 53% support against 45% opposition in September to 45% support against 53% opposition in late January. And there is no reason to believe those numbers will get any better for the pro-lockdown side — in fact, a new study provides further fuel for the anti-lockdown fire.

A group of analysts led by the head of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics, analyzed studies from around the world. Their findings clearly demonstrate that not only did the strict lockdown policies not work to save lives — they “reduced COVID-19 mortality by 0.2% on average” — but restricting gatherings in safe places outdoors may have been “counterproductive and increased” the death rate by forcing people to stay home instead with vulnerable family members.

Worse, says the study, “While the meta-analysis concludes that lockdowns have had little to no public health effects, they have imposed enormous economic and social costs where they have been adopted. … They have contributed to reducing economic activity, rising unemployment, reducing schooling, causing political unrest, contributing to domestic violence, and undermining liberal democracy.”

Not surprisingly, the study’s trio of authors summarizes their policy recommendations simply: “Such a standard benefit-cost calculation leads to a strong conclusion: lockdowns should be rejected out of hand as a pandemic policy instrument.”

The study puts the lie to Dr. Anthony Fauci’s assertion that lockdowns saved lives: “The fact that we shut down when we did, and the rest of the world did,” he said, “has saved hundreds of millions of infections and millions of lives.” 

The data is in, and the science is clear. End the lockdowns. End the mandates. Let us get back to our lives. Now.

• Jenny Beth Martin is the honorary chair of Tea Party Patriots Action. 

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

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