Lockdowns do what they're supposed toFriday, April 09, 2021
It is annoying to read the arguments used by some who oppose lockdowns to fight the novel coronavirus outbreak. Often they compare death rates among other illnesses to suggest that COVID-19, with fewer deaths, does not require such a drastic response. They don't realise it's not just about deaths.
They forget that strokes, heart attacks, and cancers are not infectious diseases which can be transmitted in public spaces. They also forget that there are new virus variants emerging which are more dangerous in terms of infection, symptoms and casualties. They don't mention that, although the numbers of deaths from COVID-19 pales in comparison to other illnesses, and even our murder rate, it is the the rate of infections that matter and the increasing number of people requiring hospitalisation in intensive care units, when hospitals have already reached capacity — a dangerous situation for any country that has concern for health care.
Many who get infected and recover still suffer long-term ailments. I've heard approximately 30 per cent of patients who recover suffer from neurological and anxiety issues long after. The strain on our health services will have far-reaching effects on resources if hospitals are full, other patients in need of urgent care for other ailments could be turned away, hospital staff are overworked and stressed, and surgeries for other conditions have to be postponed.
This is why lockdowns, along with other safety measures, must be enforced to help to contain the virus and limit the risks and limit the spread. A lockdown helps to limit social interaction, even at the expense of gains to the economy. A very sick person cannot benefit from economic gains. Lockdowns help to spread the message that this is a very serious public health issue which can have devastating consequences. Eventually people will get it.
I think the Government should consider allowing essential services, such as supermarkets and pharmacies, to remain open with limited hours. What is the point of overcrowding these facilities due to weekend closure? People should be able to get groceries and pharmaceuticals if they wear masks and follow protocols and don't linger.
It is also good for wellness, as a lockdown doesn't have to be a 'lock up'. In China, where lockdowns were policed during the early outbreak of the virus, people were allowed to go out for essentials, and they wore masks. China has managed to contain the outbreak to the point where life is almost back to normal. The Chinese follow rules; they know there will be consequences.
In Gibraltar, a small territory south of Spain, most adults have already been vaccinated and, according to reports, life is returning to normal. This gives hope to the rest of the world.
I must commend the Government on its vaccination efforts. I've heard the process has been very smooth at the sites.
Although vaccine supplies are still limited, this will improve in a few months as the US accelerates efforts to vaccinate most of its population. We can't blame the US and other countries for looking after their own first.
In the meantime, we cannot let down our guards. We know that a lockdown will not end the pandemic; it only helps to contain the outbreak and give the health sector breathing space to be more effective. We must do our part, wear masks, practise distancing, sanitise frequently, and get vaccinated. This is the only way for life to return to normal.
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