What lockdowns can mean during the pandemic

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MartinMark

Many countries around the world look towards national lockdowns to aid them at combating the COVID-19 pandemic, but what are the pros and cons of these lockdowns?

Bradley Gambosi

Skyrocketing case numbers all across the country, hospitals filling up to near max capacity in numerous cities, and hundreds dying from this disease everyday. It leaves anyone to wonder, what else could be done to stop this grim reality we’re living in. Numerous countries who have been hit the hardest are looking towards national lockdowns.

According to the BBC, “England has been under numerous strict lockdown restrictions since November 5th. People are required to remain at home and bars, restaurants, and non-essential retail stores have all been closed.”

The topic of national lockdowns has formed in polarizing arguments with different viewpoints from opposing sides; those being people who are pro-lockdown and people who are against it. 

One major point from people who oppose lockdowns is that they aren’t worth doing because they will send the economy into turmoil.

Nick Triggle, health correspondent from the BBC, stated, “A second lockdown in the UK would be extremely damaging. The first UK lockdown that began on March 23, sent the country into recession for the first time in eleven years.” 

Many people in the United States share this same fear of economic downfall, further economic depression, and the failure and downfall of small businesses across the country.

The Office of National Statistics even pointed out that in the first five months of the pandemic, where the UK implemented their first national lockdown, a “total of 695,000 payroll jobs were lost.”

A further disruption to students’ education is also a big fear for many, especially those in the United States who’ve called out their school boards to reopen their schools for in-person instruction.

Mental health and the obstruction of overall freedoms themself are many of the main reasons that people are against national lockdowns.

New Zealand, another country that went on a months long lockdown, which now have typically zero new COVID-19 cases a day, have also reported a mental toll was taken on their citizen during their national lockdown.

Dr. Susanna Every-Palmer, the head of the Department of Psychological Medicine at the University of Otago in New Zealand, stated, “30 percent of New Zealanders surveyed reported moderate to severe psychological distress and 16 percent had moderate to high levels of anxiety. Almost 40 percent said their level of well-being was low.”

One of the main reasons now some people are calling for a national lockdown, specifically in the United States, is to lessen the vast strain that the influx of infections have placed on the backbone of the hospitals across our country. 

According to The COVID Tracking Project, who publishes the most complete texting data in the U.S., “Currently, there are 93,238 hospitalized patients in the United States,” a record-setting number of patients ever recorded. 

Hospitals all throughout the nation, even Morris Hospital in Grundy County, are running out of beds for sick people with COVID-19 and even patients with other life threatening issues.

People who support locking down the country believe that this would relieve the strain that hospitals are facing right now; cutting through the record number of hospitalizations and freeing up hospital beds in our medical system. 

Another one of the main arguments is one of the key messages of many public officials; to save lives throughout the country.

Disease modelers from Columbia University said on May 20, “The United States could have prevented 36,000 to 65,300 COVID related deaths if proper measures were put in place by May 20th.”

A national lockdown in the United States is not the only thing we could implement to slow the spread of COVID-19 however.

One thing that could be specifically implemented to help aid the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States could be “targeted lockdowns” rather than a full-scale nationwide lockdown. 

An age-based, targeted policy of lockdowns could substantially reduce the economic cost of pandemic response,” is what Daron Acemoglu, Victor Chernozhukov, Iván Werning, and Michael D. Whinston, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, are vouching is better than a national lockdown.

Rather than a lockdown of everyone in the country that would hurt the already depressed economy in the United States, one targeting specific, high-risk groups such as senior citizens would lessen the economic impact while also saving the lives of these high-risk groups from COVID-19.

A targeted lockdown should definitely be mandated in the United States, targeting those senior citizens (65+ years old), to save the lives of hundreds of thousands while also avoiding even more years of economic damage.