As our world continues to battle COVID-19, many countries have once again resorted to extreme lockdown measures to contain the virus. Lockdowns constitute stay at home rules and extensive business closures. However, data shows us that continuous cycles of lockdowns do not work, but instead have negative impacts on society. The only optimal lockdown strategy proven to be successful is New Zealand’s “go hard and go early’ strategy. New Zealand successfully executed a no-nonsense approach and took extensive measure right away in order to curb the transmission of the virus. As a result, they only had 2,262 cases and 25 deaths. Currently, they have 6 cases in managed isolation, and no cases in the community. However, most countries are well beyond the time period of implementing that strategy.
Countries like the UK and Canada are still battling COVID-19 due to the ineffective and continuous cycles of lifting lockdowns, easing lockdowns, and then going into lockdown again. Not only has this proven to be an ineffective way of curbing COVID-19, but it has also negatively impacted the economy. The UK’s GDP contracted by almost 19% in 2020 when compared to 2019. When looking at countries such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea, who have also had some of the most successful COVID responses, none of them went into lockdown!
Countries like the US, Canada, and UK who are dealing with second waves of Covid-19 are far beyond the time period of implementing extensive lockdowns. The population is simply tired and does not fear COVID-19. The percentage of people concerned about COVID-19 has fallen to around 50% in November. This growing weariness means that lockdowns are simply not as effective at reducing the mobility of the population as they were in the spring. According to a modelling based on US COVID-19 data by John Hopkins, the death rate for counties with stay at home orders increases by one person per 100,000 every two weeks. This rate increases to every 11 days for gathering bans of over 50 people. There is a strong correlation between economic damage and days spent in lockdowns. Switzerland’s GDP only contracted by 8% and they spent almost half the time in lockdown when compared to the UK. A bloomberg spring analysis showed that there was little correlation between extensive lockdown restrictions and fatalities. A published study from Frontiers in Public Health also agreed that there is no correlation between strict measures and death rates. Lockdowns also have grave implications on the mental health of our population. More than 40 US states have reported increased opioid related deaths, and overdose calls have increased by over 40% during this pandemic.
It’s time to hold our government accountable for their mismanagement of this pandemic. Continuous lockdown cycles are doing nothing but impacting our mental health and damaging our economy. Continuous lockdowns have proven to be ineffective in curbing COVID-19. It’s time to focus on effective vaccinations, centralized quarantine, and social distancing measures instead. If we all protect ourselves by practicing social distancing, wearing masks, and supporting the vaccine effort, we can handle the pandemic in a much more effective manner.