On the narrow question of whether lockdowns control COVID-19, though, I rounded up everything I was aware of, including findings I very much doubt. And I did my best to dredge up more work with Internet searches, though there is so much of this stuff that the studies cited below cannot possibly be all of it.

My own read of the evidence is that government restrictions make a difference — but that voluntary social distancing rooted in fear of the virus does a lot of the work too. Which isn’t that surprising when you think about it, because, at least in democratic countries, it’s very hard to lock down unless the public wants to. By the time U.S. states told everyone to stay home, their restaurant traffic (as measured by OpenTable) had already fallen by more than half.

I know a lot of readers are going to go hunting for studies that support whatever they already think, so I’ve organized the research according to the conclusions it reached, from pro-lockdown to anti-lockdown. It’s the scientific method!