UChicago’s Casey Mulligan Highlights ‘Tragic and Knowable’ Lockdown Consequences, Warns Against the Seduction of Central Planning

Jack Pfefferkorn:

University of Chicago Professor Casey Mulligan, formerly the chief economist for the Council of Economic Advisers, has spent the past several years highlighting the predictable damage of COVID-19 lockdowns. He recently participated in a moving Committee to Unleash Prosperity panel discussionon lessons learned from the pandemic and published a Wall Street Journal op-ed detailing the deadly consequences of the “draconian steps taken to mitigate” COVID.

In their early January Journal op-ed, Mulligan and Rob Arnott note that “CDC data show the rate of non-Covid excess deaths in the first half of 2022 was even higher than 2020 or 2021. These deaths therefore likely already exceed 250,000, disproportionately among young adults.”

“Non-Covid excess deaths have shown no signs of diminishing, at least through mid-2022,” Mulligan and Arnott ominously observe.

Months earlier, in late October 2022, Mulligan joined Scott Atlas, a radiologist and former advisor on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, and Steve Hanke, professor of applied economics at the Johns Hopkins University, for a Committee to Unleash Prosperity discussion on the long-term impacts of COVID and politicians’ response to the virus.

The Predictable Damage of COVID Lockdowns

According to Dr. Atlas, the panel’s public health expert, U.S. lockdown policy bucked existing pandemic response literature. He highlighted a 2006 paper by epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Inglesby, who evaluated several potential disease mitigation measures in the event of an influenza-like pandemic and concluded that travel restrictions were “historically ineffective” and that communitywide cancelation of public events is “inadvisable.” 

Moreover, the Inglesby paper ruled that extended school closures are “not only impracticable but carry the possibility of a serious adverse outcome.”