Five weeks of mortality data during the gradual easing of lockdown in most US states during the spring of 2020 show a consistent history among those weeks with regard to the following: States without lockdown, herein “free states,” have had a lower percentage than states with lockdown, herein “locked states,” of total deaths from all causes in these weeks in 2020, compared to the same weeks for each of the states in the years 2017 to 2019.
Each free state had fewer deaths in comparison to its own record of recent years. Locked states averaged more deaths compared to their own records of recent years.
This difference holds for both of the following comparisons: free vs locked states that are immediately surrounding free states, as well as free states compared to the average results of all locked states in the US.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data from weeks ending May 15, 2020 through June 12, 2020 show consistency over each of those five weeks in the following data.
Five US states: Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota, did not lock down, and submitted mortality data to the CDC. These states are the control group, herein “free states” in the mass human experiment of society-wide lockdown in the spring of 2020.
There are other states that have special situations. Wyoming also did not lock down, but the CDC had not posted complete mortality data for Wyoming until June 10, 2020, so I exclude Wyoming in most of the following weeks; however, June 12, 2020 data for Wyoming is included in the June 12, 2020 table (Table 5). Also, Utah and Oklahoma did not impose lockdown at the state level; however, lockdown was imposed in their most populous jurisdictions, so I group Utah and Oklahoma with the locked states. USA Today lists states that locked down, opened up and the dates for each. (1) That article shows that almost all states locked down during the last 10 days of March, 2020. Most states began re-opening during the first three weeks of May, 2020. The CDC shows peak COVID-19 deaths as mid-April in this table. (2)
For comparison with the five free states, I also look at CDC mortality data of the immediately neighboring states, with which the free states share long borders. These are respectively, Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kansas, Colorado and Montana. These are the states in the immediately surrounding experimental group, herein “locked states.”
This paper will examine CDC data to determine whether reduction in deaths happened in US states that locked down.
Lockdowns were imposed by many jurisdictions for the stated purpose of limiting movement, activities and commerce of individuals and businesses, for the goal of limiting COVID-19 incidence and mortality. It was widely hoped this would work. However, outside of the US, it was found that mortality actually increased steeply closely following lockdowns.(3) Also, it was found that in Europe, “no lives were saved” by lockdown.(4) In an early analysis in the US also, it was not found that lives were saved by shutdown.(5) Those last two analyses were relatively early, 4/24 and 4/26/20 respectively, before it was clear that COVID-19 incidence, hospitalizations and deaths had peaked.
This study is likewise of a limited time frame, the five weeks of the decline of lockdown, the American perestroika, one might say, of re-opening. Through the five weeks of this study there is stark and consistent contrast of mortality in free vs. locked states.