Comment on 'A Literature Review and Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Lockdowns on COVID-19 Mortality'

9 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2022

See all articles by Nicolas Banholzer

Nicolas Banholzer

ETH Zürich - Department of Management, Technology, and Economics (D-MTEC)

Adrian Lison

ETH Zürich - Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering

Werner Vach

University of Basel

Date Written: February 11, 2022

Abstract

In a recent working paper, Herby et al. conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of lockdowns on COVID-19 mortality. Based on their results, they conclude that "lockdowns have had little to no public health effects" and that "lockdowns should be rejected out of hand as a pandemic policy instrument" (p. 2). These strong conclusions have quickly been taken up by the public media. Here, we would like to comment on the paper by Herby et al., thereby raising concerns regarding the subject and conduct of their meta-analysis. Based on these concerns, we argue that their meta-analysis lacks methodological rigor and should thus not be considered as policy advice. In addition, we point towards more general issues regarding the conduct of meta-analyses on the effects of non-pharmaceutical interventions.

Note: Funding: None to declare.

Declaration of Interests: None to declare.

Keywords: lockdown, non-pharmaceutical interventions; COVID-19, literature review and meta-analysis, research comment

JEL Classification: I18

Suggested Citation

Banholzer, Nicolas and Lison, Adrian and Vach, Werner, Comment on 'A Literature Review and Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Lockdowns on COVID-19 Mortality' (February 11, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4032477 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4032477

Nicolas Banholzer (Contact Author)

ETH Zürich - Department of Management, Technology, and Economics (D-MTEC) ( email )

ETH-Zentrum
Zurich, CH-8092
United States

Adrian Lison

ETH Zürich - Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering ( email )

Mattenstrasse 26
4058 Basel
Zürich, 8092
Switzerland

Werner Vach

University of Basel ( email )

Petersplatz 1
Basel, CH-4003
Switzerland

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