Personal views from Dave Siddall ( 2022) : Open to corrections or review. (email@example.com)
LATEST 2023 : President Xi of China admits lockdowns not been a good idea...
The past three years have seen governments clutch at the idea of Lockdowns to tackle the Covid pandemic. But does this approach help and what are the negative effects. Frustrated at the lack of apparent analysis of the costs versus benefits of the lockdown approach to dealing with Covid19 I felt I had to make a stab at such a study...
The justification for the UK ordering millions of citizens to lock themselves away was "flattening the curve" of Covid cases to enable the NHS to cope.
As an aside the fact that our UK NHS has become unfit for purpose and needed a 'flattened curve' is revealed in these stats: Hospital beds per 1000 people (most recent World Bank data)
ICU-CCB beds per 100,000 people
and the decline in UK NHS provisions shown here...UK hospital beds per 1000:
So let's first look at the positive outcome claim for Lockdowns before we look at the negatives.
Research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ)concluded that "On
average, implementation of any physical distancing intervention (strict
lockdown)was associated with an overall reduction in covid-19 incidence
of 13% "
yet the UK lockdowns did not appear to help the UK nation avoid reaching one of the highest covid mortality levels in world and a study of the Phillipines, where according to Wikipedia; "The lockdown in the Philippines started on 14 March 2020 and is one of the longest and strictest lockdowns with varying levels of community quarantine being imposed on all major islands and cities." Yet a glance at the actualy covid deaths in the Phillipines does not appear to show any *flattening of curves." Similarly the lockdown in South Africa started on 27 March 2020 and progressed through various levels. It is also one of the strictest lockdowns in the world with cigarettes and alcohol banned throughout. Yet it was South Africa where the so called Omicron variant started.
THE MANY NEGATIVES
So let us try and quantify the negative effects of lockdowns:
(1)UK Furlough payout total to august 2021 £68 billion (https://www.statista.com/statistics/1122100/uk-cost-of-furlough-scheme/) In addition, Subsidy to London transport £5 billion and similar amount to subsidise rest of UK bus travel. Plus £14 billion to keep often empty trains running.
(2)Patients waiting to start routine hospital treatment at the end of September 2021 reached a record of 5.8 million - the highest number since NHS England records began in August 2007. One million fewer women screened for breast cancer as a result.
(3)Millions of UK children and university students lost vital educational and social interactions and 100,000 children missed education entirely due to no at home internet.
(4) In spite of the poverty of hard data, it is clear that known suicide risk factors have increased dramatically during lockdown: job losses, social isolation, the disintegration of family life, the loss of purpose and routine, the lack of face-to-face mental health support, or indeed, the absence of support altogether.
(5) I have not been able to pin down how many small businesses have closed down and how many casual workers have been made unemployed as a consequence.
China adopted a ruthless total lockdown policy which eventually helped bring the virus allegedly under control.for a while....but the problem then becomes the virus still circulates around the globe so immediately a lockdown is ended there is the risk of the virus arriving. UPDATE autumn 2022: China imposed severe lockdowns prompting riots and major social and economic problems...yet the total lockdown failed to halt 31,000 cases as the government tried to un-lock. Always the inevitable problem..what happens when you end a lockdown!
Among the cruelist lockdown effect was when the hundreds or thousand died by the rail side as India's Modi gave them 48 hours to leave cities.
And I can't help but repeat this statement in January 2022: Lord Frost has accused the Government of Covid theatre, as he warned that the country will look back on lockdowns as a serious public policy mistake February 2022 Swedish inquiry commission study backs the government policy of minimal lockdown.
Update December 2022..China admits its lockdown has been a chaotic farce and in late December 2022..
China will remove quarantine requirements for inbound travellers from January 8 2023 as the country dismantles the remnants of a zero-Covid regime that closed it off from the rest of the world for almost three years.
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