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Lockdowns in Europe: The Evidence So Far

Summary:
Elaine He summarizes in this piece for Bloomberg the evidence concerning European lockdowns. She divides European states by fatalities and tries to match any success in dealing with the outbreaks with the “strictness” of a country response: In Europe, roughly three groups of countries emerge in terms of fatalities. One group, including the U.K., the Netherlands and Spain, experienced extremely high excess mortality. Another, encompassing Sweden and Switzerland, suffered many more deaths than usual, but significantly less than the first group. Finally, there were countries where deaths remained within a normal range such as Greece and Germany. Yet the data show that the relative strictness of a country’s containment measures had little bearing on its membership in

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Elaine He summarizes in this piece for Bloomberg the evidence concerning European lockdowns.

She divides European states by fatalities and tries to match any success in dealing with the outbreaks with the “strictness” of a country response:

In Europe, roughly three groups of countries emerge in terms of fatalities. One group, including the U.K., the Netherlands and Spain, experienced extremely high excess mortality. Another, encompassing Sweden and Switzerland, suffered many more deaths than usual, but significantly less than the first group. Finally, there were countries where deaths remained within a normal range such as Greece and Germany.

Yet the data show that the relative strictness of a country’s containment measures had little bearing on its membership in any of the three groups above

At the same time, “the most intense lockdowns look likely to suffer the most economically. What’s not clear yet is how much economic benefit countries with relatively lax curbs really stand to gain, given the integrated and trade-driven nature of the European economy.”

She reminds us that “the economic data for the lockdown period are only just appearing, and they may be revised substantially in the future given the obvious difficulties of collecting data during a pandemic”. Yet “the past few months suggest is that the economic cost is not the only downside to a draconian lockdown”. Indeed, psychological and non-Covid health costs may be relevant and begin to be more evident in a matter of weeks.

Alberto Mingardi
Mingardi, one of the rising stars of European libertarianism, is the founder and Director General of the Italian free-market think tank, Instituto Bruno Leoni. His areas of interest include the history of economic thought and antitrust and healthcare systems. He is particularly well known for popularizing the work of past scholars under-appreciated by today’s libertarians. Currently an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, Mingardi has also worked with the Heritage Foundation, the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, the Acton Institute, and the Centre for a New Europe.

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