Lockdown: Is the cure worse than the disease?

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.

Unusually deserted Bond Street;
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bond_St_Station_on_Oxford_Street_London_UK_Lockdown_COVID_19.jpg

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.

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.

Tranquillity amidst the madness. The world is overwhelming

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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8 thoughts on “Lockdown: Is the cure worse than the disease?

Add yours

  1. Very well written and an interesting read! I’m all for the rules but even I’m wondering at this stage if Lockdown is the answer and how long this can go on for without having other serious health issues (namely mental health). We can just hope that the vaccine does its job and we can go back to a somewhat normal state of living.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, it’s certainly frustrating, and it’s difficult to trust in how effective the results will be. I too am banking on the vaccines speeding up the process!

      Like

  2. It’s a real dilemma isn’t it? Too many people seem to be ignoring this lockdown so it probably won’t work anyway. Many schools are at almost 50% capacity so this will make the infection keep on spreading. On the other hand everyone’s mental health is suffering from the restrictions…not sure what the solution is

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Seems like an accurate summation – I agree with the principle of lockdown, but in practice they’ve proved too difficult to uphold strictly enough to be effective. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

      Like

  3. An interesting post. I’m inclined to agree with you. Lockdown needs to be accepted, really and the fact is it takes away certain freedoms and is just not a lot of fun. That will have an impact, but we just need to ride it out and deal with the impact when things are safer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. We’re accustomed to living with a number of commodities that could be easily sacrificed on a temporary basis, to allow for far more access to everything else in the long-term. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. An interesting point, something of which the younger generation seem to be much more in tune with. As a University student myself, it’s hard to see how much of an impact this is having on some.

    Liked by 1 person

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