There is copious evidence that lockdowns reduced transmission of the coronavirus. Some types of social distancing restrictions are more effective than others, and some sub-populations benefit more than others, but overall, lockdowns did limit the spread and saved lives....And lo and behold, when we look at evidence, we find that lockdowns accounted for only a small percent of the economic slowdown. For example, economists Austan Goolsbee and Chad Syverson looked at the state border between Illinois and Iowa. On the Illinois side, the towns issued stay-at-home orders, whereas on the Iowa side they did not. And guess what — economic activity fell almost as much on the Iowa side as on the Illinois side!
This is very similar to the results of a comparison of Sweden and Denmark. Denmark locked down and saw its economic activity decline by 29%; Sweden chose not to lock down, and saw its economic activity decline by 25%. The biggest economic destroyer by far was not government policy; it was fear of COVID.