Lockdown a blunt instrument with no guarantees

Original article by Nick Cater
The Australian – Page: 10 : 30-Mar-20

A coronavirus lockdown separates people from jobs and businesses from customers to a far greater extent than intended. Meanwhile, the effectiveness of lockdowns remains uncertain, with the death toll in European countries that have imposed such measures continuing to rise. It is hard to imagine that an Italian-style nationwide lockdown would reduce the spread fast enough to stop Australia’s medical services being swamped. A poll on the weekend by Roy Morgan demonstrates that voluntary self-isolation is a feasible strategy, avoiding the need for the authoritarian approach some appear to prefer. In the poll, 84 per cent of those over 65 years of age said they were already self-isolating. Nobody knows if a full lockdown will end the pandemic or how long these draconian measures will have to stay in place. We do know, however, that such measures will come at an enormous cost to employment, welfare and families. It seems the total lockdown strategy would damage the economy beyond all recognition if kept in place for very long. The price would be paid not just in jobs and wages, but in loneliness, mental illness, family violence and perhaps even suicide. In a situation like this, the least-worse solution will always be the one that takes account of the welfare of people.


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