The Origins and Political Persistence of COVID-19 Lockdowns
By Phillip W. Magness, Peter C. Earle
Over the course of just two weeks in mid-March 2020, most of the world went into a state of general lockdown in response to the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This rapid shift in public-health policy implemented a suite of countermeasures referred to as nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), including wide-scale nonessential business closures, event cancellations, school closures, numerical restrictions on gathering sizes, suspensions of international travel, and shelter-in-place ordersall intended to reduce or mitigate the transmission of the virus. Although initially presented as short-term emergency measures to flatten the curve of demand for hospital capacity, many of these responses quickly morphed into persistent policies for the duration of the pandemic.
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