We’ve locked down the economy instead of the virus.
Jobs are recovering slower in New York and other states holding on to stringent COVID-19 restrictions than in states that fully reopened their economies, even though continued lockdown measures don’t appear to be saving lives, an ongoing study by WalletHub shows.
Measures like limiting travel, keeping restaurants operating below capacity and leaving non-essential businesses closed have kept unemployment in New York State among the highest in the nation, while states with fewer restrictions are seeing jobs bounce back faster from the pandemic-induced recession, the study shows.
Tragically, the data also suggests lockdowns didn’t do much to help save lives throughout the pandemic, while it’s clear that they sent millions to the unemployment line.
WalletHub started ranking states’ lockdowns in May 2020, using a formula that assigns a numerical value to mask mandates, large-gathering limits, school closings, “shelter in place” requirements and other measures put in place to try to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus. The rankings did not account for things like population density, the close quarters in urban households or use of public transportation, all of which play a role in virus transmission.
At the beginning of the pandemic, with the metro area besieged by the virus, WalletHub scored New Jersey’s lockdown measures the strictest in the country, followed closely by New York.
On the other end of the rankings, South Dakota, which imposed almost no restrictions, sat on top of the openness ranking, with Utah second.
Over the course of the year, states imposed and eased a variety of restrictions in response to the level of virus cases and COVID-19 deaths. Where lockdowns were lifted, unemployment fell, but the restrictions didn’t seem to nudge death rates.
By March 8, 2021, for example, New Jersey had recorded 2,656 deaths per 1 million residents, while New York had 2,500 per 1 million residents, according to the Covid Tracking Project. South Dakota had 2,149 deaths per 1 million residents, but loose-rules Utah had just 617.
The study found little correlation at all between the strictness of lockdown measures and death rates.
Read more at New York Post