A newly released study overseen by an economics professor at Johns Hopkins University comes to the same conclusion that many have been saying for the duration of the pandemic – lockdowns are unprecedented government overreach and next to useless.

John Balentine, a former managing editor for the Lakes Region Weekly, lives in Windham.

The study, released last week, found that government-imposed lockdowns and shelter-in-place emergency orders in the early part of the pandemic – including the particularly draconian one imposed in Maine by Gov. Janet Mills that made it an actual crime to conduct “nonessential” work and travel – did little to limit the spread of coronavirus. The study found such lockdowns only reduced deaths by two-tenths of 1% and should be avoided in any future pandemics.

The summary of the “meta-analysis” study, which was a survey of a few thousand previous studies, reads as follows:

“Finally, allow us to broaden our perspective after presenting our meta-analysis that focuses on the following question: ‘What does the evidence tell us about the effects of lockdowns on mortality?’

“We provide a firm answer to this question: The evidence fails to confirm that lockdowns have a significant effect in reducing COVID-19 mortality. The effect is little to none.

“The use of lockdowns is a unique feature of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lockdowns have not been used to such a large extent during any of the pandemics of the past century.


“However, lockdowns during the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic have had devastating effects.

“They have contributed to reducing economic activity, raising unemployment, reducing schooling, causing political unrest, contributing to domestic violence, and undermining liberal democracy.

“These costs to society must be compared to the benefits of lockdowns, which our meta-analysis has shown are marginal at best. Such a standard benefit-cost calculation leads to a strong conclusion: lockdowns should be rejected out of hand as a pandemic policy instrument.”

While Sweden mostly bucked the global lockdown trend (and hasn’t suffered much worse as a result, which is something, not surprisingly, we never hear mention of in our mainstream media), Mainers and most other global inhabitants have suffered greatly under government directives that have resulted in economic and social ills that will linger for generations.

And we all know, the lockdowns just delayed the inevitable pain, like peeling off a Band-Aid very slowly. And we’re still feeling that pain, with small businesses and schools, especially, still digging out from Mills’ missteps.

(Our weak governor, if you don’t remember, was quick to follow other Democrat governors regarding lockdowns. Whatever former, disgraced New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo did, Mills seemingly copied within a few days. It was a rule-making bureaucrat’s dream come true, using government power to tell the populace and business owners what to do, down to the minute detail.)


You can be forgiven if you missed news coverage of this most enlightening and thought-provoking Johns Hopkins study. It was all over “conservative” media but nowhere to be found in the left-leaning, “legacy” newspapers and TV media outlets. Why? I don’t know. Is the purposeful blackout of anything that bucks Democrat-imposed lockdowns and mask mandates unworthy of legacy news coverage? I guess so. Sounds like a vast left-wing conspiracy, as Hillary Rodham Clinton’s opposite doppelgänger might posit.

Critics of the study argue it wasn’t peer-reviewed and that it wasn’t affiliated with the medical staff at Johns Hopkins. But the authors’ economics-based findings were interesting nonetheless and worthy of report since they’re based on thousands of other studies. That alone should provide some credence.

The blackout of this story further proves what conservatives have been saying for decades: the narrative-driven liberal media clamps down on anything that goes against their entrenched narrative, which, when you boil it down, is that Democrats are good and Republicans are bad. The media’s brutal, cynical treatment of former President Trump and their groupthink, eerily lockstep, Pravda-like echoing of whatever Democrat leaders call for regarding COVID has made it clear what side the media is on. Hint, it’s not the sincerely curious, truth-seeking public’s.

To me, the near-complete ignoring of this study is just another clear indication that legacy media is doing something wrong. But their pride in staying the “narrative” course no matter the evidence and how they look in their colleagues’ eyes seems to motivate and guide them, rather than truth and objectivity or, as is often the case, simply providing a variety of viewpoints when we’re not really sure what the “truth” is.Sadly, our current crop of news leaders seems incapable of delivering the cold, hard news as their forebears dispassionately did. And that closed-mindedness can only end in legacy media’s continued disintegration and the further rise of citizen-based journalism, which I don’t necessarily think is a better solution. A return to unbiased news and turning away from cheerleading, sticking to a long-held narrative and cherry-picking stories is the only way forward.

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