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Lucie White and Philippe van Basshuysen, ◊Were lockdowns justified? A return to the facts and evidence◊, 31 Kennedy Inst. of Ethics J. 405 (2021).

Abstract: Were governments justified in imposing lockdowns to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic? We argue that a convincing answer to this question is to date wanting, by critically analyzing the factual basis of a recent paper, "How Government Leaders Violated Their Epistemic Duties During the SARS-CoV-2 Crisis" (Winsberg, Brennan, and Suprenant 2020). In their paper, Winsberg, Brennan, and Suprenant argue that government leaders did not, at the beginning of the pandemic, meet the epistemic requirements necessitated to impose lockdowns. We focus on Winsberg, Brennan, and Suprenant’s contentions that knowledge about COVID-19 resultant projections were inadequate; that epidemiologists were biased in their estimates of relevant figures; that there was insufficient evidence supporting the efficacy of lockdowns; and that lockdowns cause more harm than good. We argue that none of these claims are sufficiently supported by evidence, thus impairing their case against lockdowns, and leaving open the question of whether lockdowns were justified.