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German lockdowns had ‘no direct connection’ to falling COVID rates

Scientists at Munich University found German infection rate was already falling before lockdown was imposed

Ben Feuerherd, The New York Post, Jun 4, 2021

Coronavirus lockdowns had “no direct connection” to falling infection rates in Germany - as transmission was already declining before the restrictions were imposed, new research found.

The research, conducted by statisticians at Ludwig Maximilians Munich University, found that the country’s R rate - the number of people an infected person passes the virus to - had already dipped below 1 prior to the national lockdown being imposed last November, according to the Telegraph.

The rate was also decreasing in December and April when the lockdown was tightened, the research found.

The scientists examined the R number because they viewed it as a more accurate measure than COVID-19 test results in determining the true infection rate within the community, which was what the German government was relying on.

Because the R number was dropping before the national lockdown was imposed, the researchers determined they could not conclusively say that the stay-at-home orders had any significant impact on controlling the pandemic.

There was “no direct connection,” they wrote, according to the Telegraph.

“The [lockdown] measures taken could have had a positive effect on the course of the infection, but are not solely responsible for the decline,” the statisticians wrote, according to the Telegraph.

The research has been seized on by lockdown critics, but the statisticians have stressed that there’s no evidence in the data that lockdowns weren’t necessary.

“All that it shows is that the start of lockdown and the fall in infections do not coincide,” Professor Ralph Brinks, a co-author of the research, told German television.

“You can’t tell from the data that the lockdown was unnecessary,” he added, according to the Telegraph.

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