Writes, Althea, Content Writer, Headline Diplomat eMagazine
It’s more than two years since the Covid-19 situation emerged, and we are still battling with the effects of both the pandemic itself and the disastrous lockdown policy implemented to tackle it. Now, the truth is out: the lockdown policy was as useless as it was disastrous.
The disastrous policy: stop living to save your life!”
Many governments across the globe implemented a lockdown policy, which included closing borders, shutting down businesses, closing schools and churches, restricting movements, and stay-at-home orders. At a time, about half of the world’s population or some 3.9 billion people in more than 90 countries or territories were ordered to stay at home by their governments.
They claimed that these restrictions were established to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and reduce mortality. In essence, the governments asked us to stop living to save our lives. What they never asked or tried to find out was the effectiveness of that policy at curbing the spread of the virus and preventing deaths. It turned out that people were put under such horrible situations under a false premise, and what was more worrying was the policy allowed democratic governments to grab more powers, effectively introducing dictatorship in democracy.
Two years after, the effects are still felt
According to a WHO assessment in October 2020: “Millions of enterprises face an existential threat, with nearly half of the world’s 3.3 billion global workforce were at risk of losing their livelihoods. Informal economy workers are particularly vulnerable because the majority lack social protection and access to quality health care and have lost access to productive assets. Without the means to earn an income during lockdowns, many are unable to feed themselves and their families, as no income means little or no food for most of them.”
Although the lockdowns were supposed to be temporary to avoid overwhelming our hospitals as they claimed, restrictions of varying degrees are still with us, and more restrictions are being considered with every new strain that shows up.
It’s now about 2 years, yet we are still battling the effects of the disastrous lockdown policy in many aspects of our societal life. Many studies have shown how the policy affected peoples’ mental health and emotional wellbeing. The effects cut across all age groups, including children and youths. According to a European Commission report titled “The Covid generation”, the curfews, closures, and lockdowns are taking their toll on the emotional wellbeing of our youths.
What about the economy? We are still battling the consequences of supply chain disruptions brought about by the senseless lockdown. From lack of jobs to high inflation rates, it would take many years to recover from the effects of the policy.
All these sufferings for no significant benefit — a study found
A new study by researchers from Johns Hopkins University in the US, Lund University in Sweden, and the Centre for Political Studies in Denmark found that the lockdown policy prevented just 0.2 percent of deaths when compared with letting people take the necessary precautions themselves in the face of the pandemic.
To ascertain the benefits of the lockdown, the authors reviewed 24 separate studies, grouping them into three categories: Lockdown Stringency Index Studies, Shelter-In-Place Order Studies, and Specific Non-Pharmaceutical Intervention Studies. They also studied other interventions, such as wearing masks, business and school closures, border closures, and stay-at-home orders.
Here are their findings:
- Closing non-essential businesses, especially bars and recreational establishments, was estimated to have lowered mortality by about 10.6 percent.
- Shutting schools was also estimated to have lowered deaths by 4.4 percent
- Asking people to stay at home reduced deaths by 2.9 percent
- Border controls prevented only 0.1 percent
However, when they corrected for natural behavioral adaptations, they found that enforced lockdowns could only have reduced deaths by just 0.2 percent when compared to asking the public to limit social gathering and work from home, as was the case in Sweden.
According to the researchers, one possible reason why lockdowns seem ineffective is that some measures were counterproductive but, instead, increased the number of deaths. For example, limiting access to outdoor spaces pushed people to meet at less safe places, while on the other hand, isolating infected people indoors increased the likelihood of passing the virus to family members and housemates.
Thus, the researchers concluded that the lockdown policy during the initial phase of the Covid-19 pandemic did not only have disastrous effects on the economy, our democracy, and peoples’ psychosocial wellbeing but that all those sufferings were for a very insignificant benefit.
Avoiding such mistakes in future pandemic policies
This study has shown that it is very important to compare the benefits of any lockdown policy to the costs to society. Having a standard cost-benefit analysis helps to avoid causing undue hardship to the people.
People should be trusted to make the right decisions and adapt in the face of an outbreak or pandemic. The main approach should be to educate them on what to do to protect themselves and others as well as provide timely information as to when the infection rates are high and when it’s dangerous to go out.
People all over the world are still suffering from the mistakes made by their governments in imposing a lockdown as a way to manage the Covid-19 pandemic. The costs of the lockdown to society far outweighed the benefits, and as such, lockdowns should be rejected out of hand as a future pandemic policy instrument.
Featured photo by SHVETS production, Pexels