I understand "than exists as a result of lockdowns" as "than (the current damage to the economy that) exists as a result of lockdowns". Am I on the right track?
When and how a country should ease restrictions are the common challenges that governments worldwide now face as they seek to balance various health, social, and economic concerns. WHO has warned that a premature lifting of lockdowns could spark a resurgence of infections and cause even more severe, longer-term damage to the economy than exists as a result of lockdowns.4 Rawaf and colleagues5 have outlined four public-health principles that should be considered in each country's exit strategy: infection status, community acceptance, public-health capacity, and health-system capacity.
Source: The Lancet