The Effect of Lockdown on Public Health and Economic System: Findings from First Wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic for Designing Effective Strategies to Cope with Future Waves
Working Paper CocciaLab n. 56/2020, CNR -- National Research Council of Italy.
22 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2020
Date Written: October 22, 2020
One of the fundamental problems in the COVID-19 pandemic crisis is the critical decision of introducing or not wide social restrictions, such as national lockdown, with the expectation of reducing the final impact of the novel coronavirus in society. This study analyzes, in an international comparative perspective, confirmed cases and fatality rates between three countries with longer and three countries with shorter period of national lockdown during the first wave of COVID-19 from March to August 2020 to assess the effectiveness of this policy response on public health. Empirical evidence suggests contradictory results: a) countries with shorter period of lockdown have a variation of confirmed cases/population (%)from August to March 2020higher than countries with longer period of lockdown; b) countries with shorter period of lockdown have average fatality rate (5.45%) lower than countries with longer period of lockdown (12.70%), whereas variation of fatality rate from August to March 2020 suggests a higher reduction in countries with longer period of lockdown (-1.9% vs 0.72%). However, Independent Samples Test and the Mann-Whitney test reveal that fatality rate of countries with a shorter period of lockdown was statistically significantly lower than countries with longer period of lockdown (-7.3%, p-value<.05), instead other variations of effectiveness of longer lockdown on public health are not significant. Overall, then, results here suggest that the impact of longer period of national lockdown by governments seems to be rather ambiguous on public health, whereas the COVID-19 pandemic associated with longer period of lockdown has a real higher negative impact on economic growth of countries. Lessons learned from this study on how countries in different economic, social, and institutional contexts have handled the COVID-19 pandemic crisis with shorter or longer period of lockdown can be important to design effective public responses for constraining future waves of the COVID-19 and future epidemics similar to the COVID-19.
Keywords: Lockdown; COVID-19; Crisis management; Health policy; Policy responses; Public Health; Country-level analysis; Pandemic crisis; Economic growth; Health benefits.
JEL Classification: D71, H12, H50, H75, I18, O35
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation