(The Center Square) — Illinois was the sixth-worst state in the nation for positive policy outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report from the National Bureau of Economic Research.
the study reviews all 50 states and the District of Columbia on three variables: health outcomes, economic performance throughout the pandemic, and impact on education over the past two years of COVID-19 policies .
Casey Mulligan, an economics professor at the University of Chicago, said the conclusion for policymakers was clear: School closures weren’t helpful.
“It hurt the kids and it didn’t help the health,” Mulligan told The Center Square. “It might even harm health a bit, but it certainly didn’t improve health, reduce COVID or anything like that. That would be #1, #2 is to reduce COVID-19. economic activity has not greatly improved health.
Illinois is an outlier “among their geographic neighbors in the direction of low combined scores,” the report said.
Of the 51 jurisdictions surveyed across the country, Illinois ranked near the bottom at No. 46 overall.
“We kind of gave each state a grade and Illinois got an F,” Mulligan said.
For economic indicators, Illinois ranked No. 47. This included unemployment, gross domestic product, and average for the economy. For in-person education, Illinois ranked #43. For health outcomes, such as COVID deaths per 100,000, excess all-cause deaths, and average mortality, Illinois ranked No. 20.
The study found that locked economies did not have better health outcomes.
“Excluding the geographically unusual cases of Hawaii and Alaska to focus on the continental United States, there is no apparent relationship between the reduction in economic activity during the pandemic and our composite measure of mortality. “, says the report.
Although the study found that school closures had a moderate correlation with the research mortality measure, the literature did not show causation. But, there was a correlation between states with locked economies and closed schools.
“Unsurprisingly, there was a strong relationship between states that had poor economic performance and closed schools – lockdown states,” the report said.
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker’s stay-at-home order in March 2020 lasted ten weeks. Around this time, Illinois’ unemployment rate skyrocketed and many businesses failed to reopen. For months afterwards, Pritzker had varying degrees of mandates like capacity limits. His indoor mask tenure lasted over a year before he lifted it. A few weeks later, in August 2021, it reimplemented the mask mandate which was lifted in early March 2022.
Separately, the Illinois Department of Public Health said Tuesday it is adopting the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation to focus only on COVID-19 hospitalizations and cases per 100,000. .
IDPH Acting Director Amaal Tokars said this means the data published on the department’s website is changing.
“This includes more data on vaccination rates and more detailed data on people in hospital, including their vaccination status,” Tokars said at a news conference about the changes.
Tokars said although cases are increasing, Illinois is still considered in the low transmission category.
“We haven’t discussed mitigation at this time, so if we do discuss it, that’s a decision that’s still to be made,” Tokars said.
Pritzker recently said that if COVID measures warrant further mitigation, he would take action, but did not elaborate.