The Costs of Covid Shutdowns, Part 2

The U.K.’s Daily Mail, one of the world’s top news sites, published a major story yesterday on the economic damage inflicted by covid shutdowns in the United States. The article’s message was that states that had more severe shutdowns suffered worse economic harm. The headline is long: “The price of pandemic restrictions REVEALED: Covid-19 measures cost Massachusetts residents $2,862 each in early 2021 — nearly THREE times as much as those paying for Mississippi’s lighter-touch lockdown, study finds.”

The Daily Mail illustrated its story with graphics based on the data from the referenced study, like this one:

And this one:

I commend the Daily Mail for using hard data to inform decision-making by public officials next time we have an epidemic, which might not be far into the future. Beyond that, I have two observations.

First, the entire Daily Mail article was based on the Center of the American Experiment study by our economists John Phelan and Martha Njolomole that I wrote about here.

Researchers from the Center of the American Experiment, a conservative think tank, estimated the economic cost of shuttered businesses and lost jobs due to each state’s lockdown measures….

They then estimated the cost on each resident of those states — a Massachusetts family of four lost out on $11,448, while a comparable Mississippi household lost out on only $4,016, according to the 42-page document.

It is great that the Daily Mail picked up on our study, which is the first multi-factor regression analysis of its kind, as far as I know.

But, second, it is also noteworthy that one of the world’s largest news organs, located in London, wrote an extensive article on our study, while local news sources–the Star Tribune, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and all local television and radio outlets–have ignored it. That tells you a lot about why blue states remain blue.

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