Did lockdowns really prevent deaths?

By Dr Juergen Ude | February 19th 2021
It has been alleged that without lockdowns many thousands of deaths were prevented. Victorians were told that its one-week snap lockdown saved many lives.

Since science has always been used to justify the harsh lockdowns, not just in Australia, Victoria but overseas such statements must be evaluated scientifically. There is no scientific evidence behind statements that say ‘without… we would have...”. These are propaganda statements. Anyone can say “without this that would have happened” and no one can disprove it. Not being able to disprove something does not make it true. It is no different than someone saying they were abducted by Martians. We cannot disprove it, but we know with reasonable certainty that it is not true. The problem is reasonable certainty. There is always the doubt that the statement is true, which is why propaganda works so successfully.

Returning to the question of did lockdowns really prevent deaths? As a reminder at the onset of the pandemic, we were, at least in Australia, told that the objective of our response was to only flatten the curve to reduce hospital overwhelming. There was never an attempt to destroy the curve until recently. That is an impossible task meaning that our lives will be damaged until a more realistic response is adopted. It will mean hardship for a long time to come and families will not be able to reunite with overseas family until then.

It does not seem that the vaccine is a solution, especially with the mutations now identified. This should not be surprising, and it was warned that this would occur at the onset of the pandemic by many real-world scientists. A virus is not a living cell, just a set of mucky molecules which are bound to change each time you breathe out. Every time you through a mud ball it will change. Nevertheless, let us hope it is.

Spreading the curve has bought time for the virus to change, which as to be expected. If breathing out a virus ‘mutates’ it, then one must also ask do face masks accelerate mutation because we do breathe in some of the air breathed out if our mouths and nose are covered. In other words, we are throwing the mud ball more often. Since we are not virologists, we are of course not qualified to answer this.

If lockdowns flattened the curve, then the curve would be spread as the image below supplied by an Australian government report shows.

BIS.Net Analyst Change Analysis used in Covid-19 analysis

Hence, we would not have reduced infections, we would not hence have reduced direct deaths. We would only have spread them. The only way lives would have been saved is indirectly by reducing hospital overwhelming which was the objective. However, it is unlikely that Australia at least, would have had on overwhelming issue because cases came down before lockdown was implemented.

Australia is the only country that started lockdown after reaching its peak with cases

But let us assume that overwhelming was an issue that we prevented and hence we saved lives by lockdown. The question that must be asked is why we had to use lockdown to prevent overwhelming. Why did we not build more field hospitals or temporary hospitals like Wuhan did? Was there a fear that the extra capacity would have occurred a cost? That would be irrational when comparing with the human and economic cost of lockdown that was incurred. Lives were destroyed.


Dr Juergen Ude has a certificate in applied chemistry, a degree in applied science majoring in statistics and operations research as top student, a masters in economics with high distinctions in every subject, and a PhD in computer modelling and algorithms. He has lectured at Monash University on subjects of data analysis, computer modelling, and quality & reliability.

Prior to founding his own company (Qtech International Pty Ltd), Dr Ude worked as a statistician and operations researcher for 18 years in management roles having saved employers millions of dollars through his AI and ML algorithms. Through Qtech International, Dr Ude has developed data analysis solutions in over 40 countries for leading corporations such as Alcoa, Black and Decker, Coca-Cola Amatil, US Vision and many more. Additionally he has developed campaign analysis software for politicians.

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