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Obvious question: if there was no science to support a lockdown and we’d never actually done one before and many in public health said it would be a terrible idea, why did it happen? There’s really two answers as best I can tell. The first answer is that the World Health Organization, early on in the pandemic, chose to praise the Chinese response of locking down Hubei Province, which effectively served to legitimize the practice, despite the extreme limitations of data available to anyone about the Chinese lockdown’s actual effectiveness. This article discusses the issue, and raises the question:

What changed the WHO’s mind and prompted it to praise the response of the Chinese authorities in Hubei province, which included the virtual incarceration of 60 million people? It was this, more than anything else, that persuaded governments across the world to lockdown their citizens.

The second answer is that newly-created disease models scared the living daylights out of world leaders, and the modelers stood ready to offer a simple solution to their made-up numbers: lock everything down, NOW!