States that imposed the harshest lockdowns had the most devastating impact on the public, the most wide-ranging study into Covid restrictions in the US to date has found.
New York, California, New Jersey and Illinois were panned for their pandemic performance after bringing in draconian measures to shut their citizens in their homes.
The Democrat Governors’ policies caused high death rates, ruined children’s education and destroyed businesses due to the severe curbs on freedom, researchers found.
Nine out of the ten worst responses to the pandemic were in blue states, the report said, with only Maryland bucking the trend and coming seventh last.
Meanwhile states that allowed their residents more freedom as coronavirus swept across the country appeared to fair better over the last two years.
Florida fared sixth, with its Governor Ron DeSantis condemned in the early days of the pandemic for what critics claimed was a reckless desire to reopen too quickly.
Utah, Nebraska, Vermont, Montana and South Dakota were also praised by analysts for their pandemic response which did not cause more Covid deaths.
The Republican-led areas – which dominated nine out of the top ten places in the study – have seen their economies remain strong and unemployment figures stay steady due to fewer restrictions.
The report, written by the National Bureau of Economic Research, said shutting down during the pandemic was ‘by far the biggest mistake governors and state officials made’.
It judged states on their economy, education and mortality and compiled a comprehensive list showing how they now stand as coronavirus dies down.
This map shows states in a darker color performed better during the pandemic than ones in lighter colors, including New York and New Jersey
South Dakota (left, Governor Kristi Noem) was one of the states that performed well in the study, while California (right, Governor Gavin Newsom) was judged poorly
Florida fared sixth, with its Governor Ron DeSantis (pictured) condemned in the early days of the pandemic for what critics claimed was a reckless desire to reopen too quickly
Pictured: The National Bureau of Economic Research compiled a comprehensive list showing how the states now stand as coronavirus dies down
Co-founder Steve Moore told Fox: ‘Shutting down their economies and schools was by far the biggest mistake governors and state officials made during Covid, particularly in blue states.
‘We hope the results of this study will persuade governors not to close schools and businesses the next time we have a new virus variant.’
New York, California, New Jersey and Illinois were joined in the bottom ten for overall performance by New Mexico, Maryland, Nevada, Connecticut and Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.
New Jersey, District of Columbia, New York, New Mexico, California, and Illinois were all branded with an F grade for their responses to the pandemic – with New Jersey slapped with a score of zero out of a possible 100.
To work out the economic situation in each state the researchers looked at unemployment figures and the local GDP.
They found New Jersey, New York, Hawaii, Massachusetts and California were the bottom five for the former category, while Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisiana, Delaware and Pennsylvania were last for their GDP.
Across the two factors, the authors – Phil Kerpen, Stephen Moore and Casey Mulligan – said: ‘Hawaii and Nevada came in last by far because of the overwhelming impact the global shutdown of tourism had on them, and energy-heavy states similarly had disproportionate unemployment rises with the collapse of global demand.’
They found New Jersey, New York (pictured, former governor Cuomo), Hawaii, Massachusetts and California were the bottom five for the former category, while Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisiana, Delaware and Pennsylvania were last for their GDP
To work out the economic situation in each state the researchers looked at unemployment figures and the local GDP. They found New Jersey, New York, Hawaii, Massachusetts and California were the bottom five for the former category, while Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisiana, Delaware and Pennsylvania were last for their GDP
This map shows how darker states performed better economically during the pandemic while lighter ones struggled financially
For education, the report looked at the percentage of students attending classes through the pandemic, with schools working on a hybrid system given half a score.
District of Columbia came in last place for this, followed by California, Oregon, Maryland, Washington and Hawaii respectively.
The report said: ‘School closures may ultimately prove to be the most costly policy decision of the pandemic era in both economic and mortality terms.
‘One study found that school closures at the end of the previous 2019-2020 school year are associated with 13.8 million years of life lost.’
It added: ‘Unlike mortality or economic outcomes, closing public schools was entirely under the control of policymakers. Almost all private schools were open.’
District of Columbia came in last place for this, followed by California, Oregon (pictured, governor Kate Brown), Maryland, Washington and Hawaii respectively
For education, the report looked at the percentage of students attending classes through the pandemic, with schools working on a hybrid system given half a score
District of Columbia came in last place for this, followed by California, Oregon, Maryland, Washington and Hawaii respectively
Meanwhile for mortality the authors focused on two areas – Covid-associated deaths reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and all-cause excess mortality.
On average across these two categories, Arizona came bottom of the list in 51st, with New Mexico, Mississippi, Nevada and New York also bringing up the rear.
The report said: ‘There is no clear pattern in which states had high and low mortality, although we note one major study from researchers found that lockdowns increased all-cause mortality to a statistically significant extent.
‘Whether or not political leaders can be considered responsible for mortality outcomes is therefore unclear, although advocates of a ”focused protection” strategy have suggested that sheltering the high-risk could reduce overall mortality – an approach adopted by Florida.’
The majority of states painted as using a poor policy to deal with the pandemic were Democrat led, while the Republican governors mostly came out of the study well.
Overall, Utah was the standout performer over the last two years, followed by Nebraska, Vermont, Montana and South Dakota in the top five across the board.
Florida, New Hampshire, Maine, Arkansas and Idaho came in sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth in the study respectively.
But economically, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Mississippi and Idaho topped the list for their handling of the coffers over the pandemic. But they were closely followed by Utah, Kentucky, Georgia, Vermont and Missouri.
Many of the same states also faired well for its handling of children’s education amid Covid, with Wyoming – which took home a 100 per cent average in the study – Arkansas, Florida, South Dakota and Utah taking the top spots.
The rest of the ten leading states in this category were Nebraska, Montana, Texas, North Dakota and Louisiana respectively.
Yet when the researchers looked at each states’ Covid deaths, the top order was shuffled, with Vermont coming out in first.
It was followed by Hawaii, Maine, Oregon, New Hampshire, Washington, Utah, Alaska, Minnesota and Virginia respectively.
The document highlights for the first time how the different methods used to combat Covid in Democrat and Republican states has impacted on their people now the pandemic is subsiding.
Democrat areas generally brought in tighter restrictions meaning their citizens had fewer freedoms and were often locked up at home.
Meanwhile Republican states were mostly looser rules on traveling, social distancing and going to school for children.
The report concluded: ‘The study verifies other studies which have found that locking down businesses, stores, churches, schools, and restaurants had almost no impact on health outcomes across states.
‘States with strict lockdowns had virtually no better performance in Covid death rates than states that remained mostly open for business.’
It went on: ‘The economy and education components were likely influenced by decisions made by policymakers, but it is unclear if that is the case for the mortality component.
Meanwhile for mortality the authors focused on two areas – Covid-associated deaths reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and all-cause excess mortality. Pictured: Map of the US showing how different states faired in the report, with darker colors having performed better, according to researchers
On average across these two categories, Arizona came bottom of the list in 51st, with New Mexico, Mississippi, Nevada and New York also bringing up the rear
‘One possible exception is nursing home policies, which may explain why several states, especially New York and New Jersey, performed poorly on mortality metrics.’
It added: ‘Using other methods, several studies have also found little health benefit of closing schools or businesses. Several studies find low COVID-19 transmission rates in schools.’
Ousted New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was originally praised for his pandemic handling but later panned for the nursing home crises that hit the state.
Last month state Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli said said his Department of Health had deliberately undercounted the number of Covid care home deaths by more than 4,000.
Cuomo, who resigned over sexual harassment claims in August, is said to have known full-well about the undercount in May 2020.
But he is alleged to have continued to exclude the figures from his official totals of around 9,000 deaths until February 2021, when the mortality figure suddenly jumped above 13,000.
He faces a federal investigation into nursing home deaths, which is ongoing.
Co-founder Steve Moore told Fox : ‘Shutting down their economies and schools was by far the biggest mistake governors and state officials made during Covid, particularly in blue states.’ Pictured: This graph shows how locked-down economics also had closed schools
The report said: ‘School closures may ultimately prove to be the most costly policy decision of the pandemic era in both economic and mortality terms.’ Pictured: Open schools and health by state
The report found that the health of people in the state did not depend on whether the economy was locked down during the pandemic
COVID ‘stealth’ variant is fueling rise in cases in HALF of US states with infections up 25% up on last week – but White House pandemic chief says Americans should not be ‘excessively concerned’
Covid cases are starting to rise once again in parts of the U.S. after nearly three months of declines coming off of the massive winter Omicron surge – but health officials say it’s not a cause for concern because hospitalizations and deaths remain low.
Dr Ashish Jha, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator who also served as dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, told NBC’s TODAY and MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Monday morning that despite recent case rises in more than half of U.S. states, Americans do not have reason to be ‘excessively concerned’ about the current pandemic situation.
According to most recent data, daily Covid cases have increased over the past two weeks in 26 U.S. states. Cases are increasing nationwide as well, with data from Friday, April 8, reporting an average of 36,204 daily infections – a 25 percent jump from the previous week.
Raw case figures are not particularly high, though, and Jha also says that hospitalizations are currently the lowest they’ve been at any point of the pandemic.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, also said this week that Americans will have to start to decide for themselves how they would like to live with the virus and that it could not be eradicated.
Daily Covid infections are now rising in 26 US states after months of sharp declines around the country
Jha points to the BA.2 ‘stealth’ variant as responsible for the recent increase in cases.
Dr Ashish Jha, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, said that he is not very concerned with America’s current Covid situation despite cases rising in more than half of states
‘It is incredibly contagious, even more contagious than the original subvariant of Omicron, and it caused a substantial spike in cases in Europe,’ he said to Morning Joe, referring to case spikes suffered by the UK, Denmark and other European nations upon the sub-variant’s discovery earlier this year.
The stealth variant is causing slight case upticks across America, though the case rises have not been anywhere near as dramatic as the ones seen nationwide when the Omicron variant first arrived in late December and early January.
New York is suffering the largest increase, with cases up 60 percent over the past two weeks in the empire state. Mississippi (57 percent jump in infections over past two weeks), Kansas (41 percent) and Oregon (40 percent) have experienced sharp increases as well.
The strain earned the ‘stealth’ moniker from its ability to avoid some types of virus surveillance practices, and it is believed to only be detectable by genomic sequencing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported last week that the strain now makes up 72 percent of sequenced Covid cases in the U.S. – overtaking the BA.1 strain that dominated much of the winter.
Like it’s predecessor, the strain is more mild than other versions of the virus. It causes hospitalization and death at a much lower rate than other variants.
‘The thing that we care most about, people getting really sick, hospitalizations, deaths, they remain really low. We have fewer people in the hospital right now than at any point in the pandemic,’ Jha said.
According to most recently available data, 15,058 Americans are in the hospital with Covid every day, an 18 percent drop over the past two weeks. Many of these people may not have a severe case of the virus, as the figure also includes people who are hospitalized for another condition and test positive for the virus while present.
Deaths are down as well, with the nation recording 551 daily Covid deaths as of Friday, with last week being the least deadly for the virus since August 2021.
Because of this, Jha is not particularly concerned about America’s current Covid situation.
‘I don’t think this is a moment where we have to be excessively concerned,’ he told TODAY.
‘…We should not let this infection run wild, we should watch it carefully and keep it under control. At the same time we don’t have to let it dictate our lives anymore.’
He is not the only major U.S. official to show less concern for Covid in recent days. Fauci, who serves as director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Disease, said over the weekend that the virus will never be ‘eradicated’, but instead people will have to decide from themselves how much risk they want to take living alongside it day-to-day.
‘There will be – and we’ve said this many times even in our own discussions between you and I, that there will be a level of infection,’ Fauci told ABC’s This Week on Sunday.
‘This is not going to be eradicated and it’s not going to be eliminated. And what’s going to happen is that we’re going to see that each individual is going to have to make their calculation of the amount of risk that they want to take in going to indoor dinners and in going to functions.’
Officials are still recommending Americans to get the Covid vaccines as soon as they can if they have not already, as the jabs are mostly responsible for the declining hospitalizations and deaths in the country.
Per most recent data from the CDC, 89 percent of American adults have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 75 percent fully vaccinated. Nearly half of adults have received an additional booster shot, and a second booster dose became available to those 50 and older earlier this month.
‘There are still a lot of Americans that are not yet vaccinated or boosted, and when they get [infected] the consequences are still quite substantial,’ Jha said.
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