With the recent announcement that France is going back to a nationwide lockdown, it’s their third since the pandemic started, the question on a lot of people’s minds is are lockdowns really effective in leveling the curve?
France is not the only country that went back to a lockdown. Mauritius also implemented a nationwide lockdown that started on March 10, 2021, all the way to March 25, 2021. Other countries have also started putting certain regions under lockdown like the Philippines where the Greater Manila Area has been under an enhanced community quarantine from March 29 until mid-April this year.
With different countries imposing lockdowns again because of the surge of COVID-positive cases, Americans are wondering if the US federal government will once again start to tighten the restrictions and have another round of shelter-in-place orders for the public.
Why were lockdowns necessary?
After what we went through last year, most people are asking if lockdowns are indeed necessary. A lot of folks are thinking perhaps social distancing and other COVID-19 safety measures are enough.
Experts are not as united when it comes to this topic. While some of them believe that lockdowns have helped save millions of lives, others claim that it also poses a threat to people where social life and economy are concerned.
Reuters reported last year how the lockdowns could have potentially saved millions of lives worldwide at the time. If the world’s governments eased on their restrictions back then, they were opening themselves to the risk of having succeeding waves of COVID-positive cases, which totally defeats the purpose of flattening the curve.
We saw this take place when countries started to ease up on their restrictions as they tried to revive their economies under more lenient safety protocols.
On the other hand, the World Health Organization claims that lockdowns, or at least extended periods of it, could be potentially harmful to a country’s citizens and economy.
How effective were they?
We all know what it’s like to be stuck at home with no job or income security and rely on stimulus checks from the government. A lot of us grew frustrated, anxious, and even hopeless.
People’s health was as much at risk at home as it is outdoors. Receiving medical care may seem more convenient because of telehealth services but despite the accessibility provided by the internet, people still got sick and needed in-person medical attention. Dental care is also harder to acquire in a lockdown, especially since dentists deal with patients’ faces and saliva. Whether the dental care needed was a simple check-up, prophylaxis, or getting 3D-printed orthodontic appliances for more advanced cases, a lot of people sat out their dental healthcare because dental clinics were closed.
When it comes to restaurants and retail establishments, a lot were forced to either shut down their operations indefinitely or pivot to help fill in the community’s present needs. At the very least, physical distancing could have helped them keep their businesses open but then again, not everyone is mindful of it nor do some people want to wear masks.
However, despite its negative impact on the economy, temporary restrictions have also proven to be helpful for economic recovery. The International Monetary Fund states that while lockdowns may come with short-term costs, it enables economies to recover a lot faster. The idea of controlling the virus’s spread and limiting it paves the way for businesses to get back on their feet.
Are they still needed today?
At the onset of the pandemic, scientists and pharmaceutical corporations have all been hard at work in developing vaccines that have high efficacy against the deadly virus.
Back then, lockdowns were a necessity because we know so little of the disease, and no playbook was written about how to deal with it. We were writing it as we go along. It was nothing like the Ebola virus outbreak in 2014. This was an entirely different virus that evolves and behaves erratically.
However, medical experts who were working on the vaccines somehow drew outstanding results in their tests and have found a way to neutralize the virus and prevent it from doing harm to the human body. Vaccines have been produced by several pharmaceutical companies and have been distributed to different countries all over the world.
Now that we already have several vaccines that have been tested and approved, countries are now in the process of rolling out mass vaccination programs.
Whether we like it or not, lockdowns have helped prevent the spread of the disease and mitigate its effects on our healths and economies. They served their purpose. If our leaders had not imposed such strict shelter-in-place measures and if the public did not cooperate, we could be in a far worse situation than we’re in right now.