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Something odd has started happening this week when it comes to COVID-19 and the pandemic response. Some key figures in the United States response to COVID, and new research, have adjusted their tune on COVID lockdowns.

First, two of the people with influence over two of America's largest cities have suddenly snapped from a lockdown mentality to the "let's open the economy up" stand. First New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has been a hardline voice against reopening for the last 8 months, said this on Monday:

New York, and it's biggest city (which is also the biggest city in the country) New York City, have had some of the most aggressive lockdown restrictions in the country since March of 2020. Even while having some of the strongest lockdown guidelines, the state and city have still experienced COVID spikes.

Then came the Mayor of Chicago (another of the US's biggest cities), Lori Lightfoot, who said Thursday that her city also needs to start getting restaurants and bars reopened "as quickly as possible"...

It's not exactly clear what has led to these changes of opinion, but it may have something to do with new research recently published in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation that questions the effectiveness of COVID-19 related lockdowns. This peer reviewed study broke down COVID-19 case growth in 10 countries.

The researchers looked at countries like Germany, France, the United States, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy, and more. When they compared the impacts of COVID lockdowns, or the lack of, researchers said there was:

"no clear, significant beneficial effect of [more restrictive measures] on case growth in any country." 

The researchers said their findings did not call into question the role of public interventions and mitigations. The focus of the results was centered around the act of shutting down businesses and locking communities down.

So it's not clear if the results of this study impacted the new tone from the Mayor of Chicago, or the Governor of New York, but it might have played a role. Some have suggested that there might be changes of opinions due to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, or the incoming Presidential administration, but there's no evidence to point in those directions either.

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