COVID lockdown study shows government used pandemic as 'excuse' to 'overreach' authority: small biz owners

One business owner called for 'controls' to avoid future government-imposed lockdowns

Small business owners are expressing frustration after a new study shows that lockdowns had little effect on public health outcomes in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

A study conducted by Johns Hopkins University shows that lockdowns during the spring of 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic began, only reduced COVID-19 deaths by 0.2% in the U.S. and Europe.

The study, conducted by Johns Hopkins University economics professor Steve Hanke, Lund University economics professor Lars Jonung and special advisor at Copenhagen's Center for Political Studies Jonas Herby, says a meta-analysis shows that lockdowns had major economic consequences, but little public health effects.

"While this meta-analysis concludes that lockdowns have had little to no public health effects, they have imposed enormous economic and social costs where they have been adopted," the study states.


lockdown study

Small business owners are expressing frustration after a new study shows that lockdowns had very little effect on public health outcomes in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. (Tapville Social)

Joseph Tota, founder and chief executive officer for Tapville, which has restaurants across the country and specializes in self-pour and service technology for craft beer, wine and cider, told FOX Business the lockdowns were "frustrating," given the new study showing their ineffectiveness. 

"I think it's frustrating, and I think, you know, the government officials who made the decisions to do lockdowns — particularly in certain states — I think, you know, they kind of owe it to businesses that they impacted with those decisions," Tota said. 

Tota said he had to close his business during periods of the pandemic and had to temporarily lay off some employees because there were no customers. He said that a "significant" amount of money was lost during the pandemic, adding that there needs to be controls put in place so another government shutdown of businesses doesn't happen again.


Joseph Tota

Tapville Social Founder and CEO Joseph Tota (Tapville Social)

"The government and the executive branch overreached their authority and kind of used the pandemic as kind of an excuse to do that," Tota said. "But I think there needs to be more in the future controls so this doesn't happen again."

Tina Van Curen, owner of Autobooks-Aerobooks, a bookstore in Burbank, California, focused on cars, motorcycles and airplanes told FOX Business the Johns Hopkins University study is "completely logical," and said that lockdowns are pointless.

"The whole idea of the lockdown is completely senseless. I mean, all they've done is destroy a lot of businesses and threw a lot of people out of work," Van Curen said.

She said that there "should have been a lot of consideration" that went into the decision of forcing businesses to shut down in the beginning of the pandemic.


Gavin Newsom

California Gov. Gavin Newsom removes his mask before speaking during a press conference at the Native American Health Center in Oakland, Calif., Dec. 22, 2021.  (Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images)

Van Curen added that even though pandemic restrictions are being lifted, it's too late for many small businesses, and said that the California legislature should have taken more action to curb Gov. Gavin Newsom's pandemic orders.

"We had a legislature who was supposed to make laws, and they haven't even opened their mouth, especially in California. They've just been hiding," Van Curen said.

FOX Business' Paul Best contributed to this report