No one should doubt that COVID-19 has been utterly devastating. It has ravaged populations and wrecked an entire generation. But this question relates to the wider impact of lockdown, supposed cure for the disease. Has it instead worsened the outcomes of a pandemic it was designed to mitigate?
Evidently, we were ill-equipped to manage the immense threat of COVID. To that extent, is lockdown really our best weapon? Beyond the worrying implications for democracy, and increasing level of police intrusions, lockdown has been associated with numerous, additional negative health impacts.
Responsible for 1.9 million global deaths (as of writing), 78,508 of which have been in the UK, the danger of COVID itself cannot be overlooked. Across the UK, cases are rising at their highest rate yet, yesterday’s (08/01/21) toll exceeding any other, with a major incident now declared in all of Essex, Surrey, and Sussex. Furthermore, Sadiq Khan has now described an “out of control” spread in London, with an estimated 1 in 30, potentially even 1 in 20 Londoners currently infected.
Pertaining to such a debilitating virus, it makes for terrifying reading. And the long-term detriments are still revealing themselves.
Can we still afford to rely upon a national lockdown in defence? Boris Johnson is still enamoured with the notion, even if his inspiration for a third attempt was plagiarised from Nicola Sturgeon. But isn’t that the problem right there? Our third national lockdown – something isn’t quite working.
Moderna entering the fray as a third, approved vaccine in the UK, alongside Pfizer and Astra-Zenica, is, at least, a spark of positivity. Should the government adhere to their promised schedule of vaccinations, they will hopefully, quickly become a method of vital support in overcoming COVID.
Unlike lockdowns, vaccinations don’t threaten the fabric of democracy. As this site has mentioned previously, there has been an infringement upon our basic freedoms, the first instance of which in peacetime. Allowing Boris to perpetuate the precedent of imposing house arrest on the entire population without objection could have negative ramifications in the future.
Events of this week have demonstrated, no matter how arrogantly complacent a nation may be in the foundations of their democracy, it can still be threatened. The US Capitol suffered an armed siege. Over the summer, several authoritarian leaders capitalised upon the opportunity of lockdown to enforce dictatorships. Under new regulations, protests and demonstrations are illegal.
Britain, alongside most of the world, has been confined to various forms of lockdown since the 24th March. A six-month sentence repenting for the negligent sins of our leaders, recently renewed with no definitive end date. Overall, I think the population has been remarkable passive and accepting, even if tensions are now becoming strained. A resoundingly…
This week also witnessed David Jamieson, police chief commissioner for West Midlands, calling for power of entry into private properties. This is in addition to other voices clamouring for lockdown restrictions to include a rigid curfew, and limitations on how far people can travel for exercise.
Strictly speaking, police should first attempt to persuade potential rule-breakers to desist, and abide by regulations, before taking action, following a policy of the ‘Four Es’ – Engage, Explain, Encourage, then Enforce.
Technically, however, you could be fined for walking on the street. Two women who drove five miles for a walk described being surrounded by police, who began reading them their rights, as if preparing an arrest.
Perhaps one of the greatest increases in governmental control since the introduction of the national census should be treated more delicately.
These concerns, of course, fail to yet mention the health issues associated with lockdown. Research conducted by Samaritans found an increase in those experiencing suicidal thoughts, often related to feeling isolated, or ‘ground down’. For many, lockdown has led to unemployment or extended furlough, perhaps also contributing towards this growing sense of despair. Another previous post has noted an average increase in alcoholic consumption across the UK, a further indicator of depression.
Perversely, at the beginning of last spring, our first lockdown began hopefully. Now, in the dead of winter, with no obvious end in sight, it’s considerably more morbid. For many children, their youngest memories will likely be of nervous parents, nothing but masked faces, and confinement to their homes.
Given all this, my conclusion might be surprising. Ultimately, I remain cautiously optimistic, wary of the frustrations and dangers of lockdown, but committed to it. The disease is certainly deadly, and though the cure is not perfect, it is at least now one of many.
All we can do is hope for a solution, demonstrate compassion to our fellow citizens, and do our best to restrict the spread.
Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down below. I regularly post contemporary commentaries like this, alongside travel posts and short stories.
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