My new research brief continues to ask a question we’ve been asking at Locke since the outset of Gov. Roy Cooper exceeding his authority amid Covid-19 to issue unilateral orders against North Carolinians ostensibly to protect them: What if the governor’s “cure” is worse than the disease?

In other words, what if the costs of the governor’s lockdown orders and severe restrictions on people, schools, and businesses outweigh their benefits?

These are standard questions an economist or any responsible person would ask about a proposed course of action — especially of state policy that affects so many millions of people, and even more especially of state policy whose effects redound to matters of life and death. But Cooper has shown no interest in asking, preferring to fend off even the hint of such questions by saying “science and data!” as if they were magic words or a “Get Out of Fail Free” card in his monopoly game of power. North Carolina’s political media, at least, always acted impressed.

The non-Covid excess death event in North Carolina

The following chart (click for the full image) shows what we feared and tried to warn the governor about:

As I explained in the brief, North Carolina was experiencing Covid excess deaths, but each week flagged with a yellow warning sign represents a week in which the state also experienced non-Covid excess deaths.

To be clear, for most weeks starting from the week ending April 25, 2020, into January 2021 (the last month for which we have data thanks to the Cooper administration’s worst-in-the-nation lag in reporting data), North Carolina was experiencing excess deaths without counting Covid deaths — i.e., a second excess death event on top of Covid excess deaths.

Read the brief for more explanation — and also for lists of recent science and data from the research literature, government reports, health experts, and others into the question of costs and benefits of government lockdowns and restrictions.

With respect to costs, more and more research keeps showing the deadly unintended consequences of lockdowns and severe personal, school, and business restrictions.

What about the benefits? The more research comes in on this question, the worse these government edicts appear.