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Proof: Lockdowns Did Not Reduce Deaths

Preprint, Under Review


© Colleen Huber, NMD

Nature and politics very rarely give us a control group and an experimental group, from which we can gather scientific data.  However, in the Covid19 era, there are US states that did not lock down.

From current CDC data, we can see whether US state lockdowns achieved reduction in deaths.

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June 16, 2020





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.





In this study, I examine whether lockdowns succeeded in reducing total deaths, and whether that data is consistent over the five weeks immediately following when most lockdowns through the US began to ease.  In order to answer the question of whether lockdowns “worked” to reduce mortality, it is most helpful to look at all deaths, because total deaths are more precisely enumerated than deaths from any specific cause, due to common multiple co-morbidities.


I chose not to look at COVID-19 deaths in this study for a number of additional reasons, including the following:


  1. The very questionable applicability of the manufacturing technique, the reverse-transcriptase / polymerase chain reaction technique, now used throughout the world as a test for presence of an infectious agent; and

  2. The 80% false positive rate of this “test” in the diagnosis of COVID-19; (6) and

  3. The arbitrary number of iterations of this “test” that have been selected to produce a positive result; (7) and

  4. Instructions given to physicians by the CDC to code cases as COVID-19 deaths including presumptively; (8) and

  5. Controversy regarding higher Medicare reimbursement for COVID-19 patients ($13,000) (9) than for flu patients ($5,000), which may have skewed reported cause of death on death certificates; and

  6. The possibility that there may be emergency aid incentives and/or political influences in altering the true number of deaths from COVID-19; and

  7. If COVID-19 is genuinely the deadly pandemic that it is widely thought to be, then total deaths in any jurisdiction would be greater during the period of its peak incidence and closely following weeks.It is not possible to have a deadly pandemic rage through a population without increasing the total number of all-cause deaths over the weeks of its peak incidence.Therefore, if deaths are not significantly increased above previous years for a given region, then there has been no pandemic, nor even an epidemic there.



Therefore, it is most useful and most accurate to look at total deaths in each state, both in free states, the control group, as well as in locked states, the experimental group.


The CDC shows a percentage of deaths in each state compared with the same week in previous years.  This percentage for each is described by the CDC as follows:


“Percent of expected deaths is the number of deaths for all causes for this week in 2020 compared to the average number across the same week in 2017-2019.” (10)


The CDC compares each of the states, free and locked, to their own mortality history from 2017 through 2019.  Let’s then compare those two groups to each other.


The CDC tables from which the numbers in this study were derived are screen-printed in this endnote.(11)   These tables are from Friday, May 15, 2020, Friday, May 22, 2020, Friday, May 29, 2020, Friday, June 5, 2020 and Friday, June 12, 2020.


The above-mentioned CDC tables are the entire source from which all calculated data in this paper is derived.  No other source is used, and all derived data may be verified by the reader with a simple calculator.


The following five tables show a comparison of free vs locked states, regarding each state’s mortality for that week as a percentage of the same week in the years 2017 to 2019.  These are shown for each of the last five weeks.  The tables show comparison of % expected deaths of the total of the free states with the total of their neighboring locked states, control group vs experimental group, over each of those weeks.


Table 1: Week ending 5/15/2020


Table 2: Week ending 5/22/2020
5.22.20 table.png

Table 3: Week ending 5/29/2020

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Table 4: Week ending 6/5/2020

6.5.20 table.png

Table 5: Week ending 6/12/2020

6.12.20 table.png

We see that over the last five weeks of easing of lockdowns, the average factor by which the percentage of all expected deaths are higher in locked states as a group than in free states as a group has stayed fairly consistent, between 1.08 and 1.11. 


The locked states as a group averaged an 8% to 11% higher percentage of deaths over their own previous years’ records than the free states did. This is expressed in the following graph showing locked vs free states vs all states, from tables in Endnote 11.



Graph 1


As lockdowns ease, and conditions in formerly locked vs free states begin to resemble their own previous years’ conditions, these different percentages would be expected to gradually converge toward 100% for each state, and Graph 1 suggests that this has begun to happen, although it may be already too late in 2020 for those percentages to converge completely by the end of the year.   


Finally, let’s compare the 6 free states with 44 locked states from today’s (the day of this writing) CDC data (now including Wyoming, because June 10, 2020, is the first date of mortality data for Wyoming in the CDC tables.)  That comparison is in Tables 6a and 6b.




Table 6a: Week ending 6/12/2020, all states, part 1 of 2


Table 6b: Week ending 6/12/2020, all states, part 2 of 2


* The CDC counts New York City data separately from the rest of New York State. 

This was considered in the average, as if New York City were a different state. 

The CDC also includes data from Washington, DC.  Therefore, there are 6 states

on the left, and 44 states plus two cities, NYC and DC, on the right.




We now see that not only comparing neighboring states, free vs locked, but now looking at the entire United States, there is a consistent pattern:  Free states show fewer than expected deaths during this week than previous years at this time, but also free states had a distinct survival advantage, and significantly lower mortality than locked states, when each state is compared with its own previous record.  The factor by which locked states’ mortality change (as percent of expected) exceeded free states’ mortality change (as percent of expected) was consistently positive and by a factor of 1.08 to 1.11.





Because the free states did not have increased deaths from their data in previous years, but their neighboring locked states did average increased deaths over the free states from their data in previous years, by a factor that stayed within the narrow range of 1.08 to 1.11 through the five weeks including the end of, and the easing of lockdown, we can therefore conclude with certainty that lockdown did not reduce deaths in the US.


In fact, free states had decreased deaths from their data in previous years, but locked states on average did not have decreased deaths from their data in previous years.  Therefore, we can conclude with certainty that lockdown did not reduce deaths.  How is this conclusion certain?  Because if a popular hypothesis is that A caused B (lockdowns caused reduced deaths), but we then learn that B never happened, then we can confidently surmise that A definitely did not cause B.  Causation is very hard to prove, but lack of causation is very easy to prove, particularly when the effect never happened.  We can be certain that A did not cause B, if we see that B never happened at all.  Lockdown did happen in most US states, including the states surrounding the free states, which I examined.  However, deaths were not reduced in those locked states, neither in comparison to their own historical mortality data on average, nor in comparison to their free neighbors.  Total deaths from all causes were not reduced in the locked states, as we see from the above data. 


This paper examined CDC data to determine whether reduction in deaths happened in lockdown states.   That did not happen; therefore, there is nothing, including lockdowns, that has caused it to happen.


The conclusion and its supporting data impact future assessments of whether lockdown was an optimal strategy of state governments. A failure of lockdowns to reduce deaths must in the future be considered when weighed against the considerable damage, including political, economic, humanitarian, social and psychological damage, caused directly by lockdowns.   Society’s response to the phenomenon of COVID-19 led to the loss of 30 million to 40 million jobs in the US alone. (12) The US unemployment rate rose to 14.7%. (13)  Unemployment’s adverse effects are known to reverberate through families and communities and business sectors, and must be considered in the future, if lockdown is ever proposed again.  The consistently worse (by 8 to 11%) mortality results that I showed in locked states over free states likely reflect the life-threatening consequences of mass unemployment.  Civil liberties concerns are also paramount to those who value those liberties perhaps as highly as their own lives, aware of wars throughout American history and world history that were fought in defense of or to establish the same.   Those liberties were challenged, curtailed and violated to various degrees throughout the US, as a consequence of lockdowns.  Therefore, lockdowns had historic and far-reaching social, political and economic effects, but they did not reduce deaths, and therefore cannot be justified now or in the future.  The timeframe of this study is limited, however, and a more thorough assessment of lockdown impact on mortality would be obtained by a study of more weeks than the five examined herein.





CDC data for May 15, 2020, part 2 of 4


CDC data for May 15, 2020, part 3 of 4


CDC data for May 15, 2020, part 4 of 4


CDC data for May 22, 2020, part 1 of 3


CDC data for May 22, 2020, part 2 of 3


CDC data for May 22, 2020, part 3 of 3


CDC data for May 29, 2020, part 1 of 3


CDC data for May 29, 2020, part 2 of 3


CDC data for May 29, 2020, part 3 of 3


CDC data for June 5, 2020, part 1 of 3


CDC data for June 5, 2020, part 2 of 3


CDC data for June 5, 2020, part 3 of 3


CDC data for June 12, 2020, part 1 of 3


CDC data for June 12, 2020, part 2 of 3


CDC data for June 12, 2020, part 3 of 3

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