With Covid-19 hobbling the country’s two largest cities, some public-health experts say the current approach is unsustainable.
Taiwanese health authorities gradually remove restrictions even as cases climb to record highs; ‘The closer the virus is, the calmer we have to be.’
Lockdowns are a sign of policy failure, according to political commentator and author Fareed Zakaria.
“Lockdowns are a sign you have failed,” the CNN host and Washington Post columnist said. “You are using a big blunt instrument, and you are crushing the economy.”
A one-size-fits-all approach to fighting the virus could lead to even more suffering in the developing world.
Six months later in America, we’re learning how to live again—and to accept the unimaginable.
A trio of public health experts from Stanford, Oxford, and Harvard universities are championing a controversial alternative to widespread coronavirus-driven lockdowns. They call their approach "focused protection" and their main argument is that those who are less vulnerable should return to their normal lives, while those who are more vulnerable should be given extra protection and resources.
If you thought birdsong sounded different during lockdown, it turns out you were probably right. The uniquely quiet circumstances of the covid-19 restrictions in San Francisco saw birds respond by lowering their pitch, singing sexier songs and making their songs clearer.
One enduring lesson from the COVID-19 pandemic is that any lasting economic recovery will depend on resolving the health crisis.
Our research in the latest World Economic Outlook shows that government lockdowns—while succeeding in their intended goal of lowering infections—contributed considerably to the recession and had disproportional effects on vulnerable groups, such as women and young people. But the recession was also largely driven by people voluntarily refraining from social interactions as they feared contracting the virus. Therefore, lifting lockdowns is unlikely to lead to a decisive and sustained economic boost if infections are still elevated, as voluntary social distancing will likely persist.
Dutch researchers say the “impact was real,” adding to hopes that doctors will learn more about factors contributing to preterm birth.
Early lockdowns in developed countries that suffered coronavirus outbreaks were a determining factor in lessening the number of excess deaths from the pandemic, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature Medicine.
Despite additional restrictions, the number of COVID-19 cases has risen in 19 out of 20 areas with local lockdowns.
But I believe that telling people to stay home and avoid all nonessential social interactions is the wrong way forward. We should instead focus on educating people and helping them socialize safely. Lessons from sex education indicate that this will be a more effective approach.
So, in the absence of a reliable COVID-19 treatment or licensed vaccine, is lockdown still worth it?
To answer this, we not only need scientific evidence, we need ethics to decide which factors should weigh most heavily in our decision-making.
Some of these factors are not so obvious.
Forced to make the impossible choice between wealth and health, we could end up with neither.
Two new papers published in the journal Nature say that lockdowns put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus were highly effective, prevented tens of millions of infections and saved millions of lives.
The response of several African countries to the threat of coronavirus outbreaks mirrored most of the measures taken globally: strict lockdowns and movement restrictions.
'The stricter the lockdown the better' is not one of those lessons.
Vital population immunity is prevented by total isolation policies, prolonging the problem.
The evidence suggests that prolonged feelings of loneliness are detrimental to health. So, how do those feelings get converted into disease? Feeling lonely and socially isolated can contribute to unhealthy behaviors such as getting too little exercise, drinking too much alcohol and smoking.
Nabarro simply was reemphasizing what the WHO and many public experts have been saying all along: the way to tackle the Covid-19 coronavirus is through layering various policies and interventions in a coordinated, organized way. It’s not as if scientific experts have been claiming that “lockdowns are great” or saying “lockdowns, ooh la la” or “lockdowns, more of this please.” Implementing lockdowns is not like eating avocado toast.
Long-term exclusion and border controls were always a partially effective response to disease threats, at best. Today, they’re simply unaffordable—significantly counterproductive for health, ruinous for quality of life. The only solution is to use the immense innovative power and production capabilities that a globally connected and urbanized world has bequeathed to develop and roll out more effective responses.
Last week the World Health Organisation’s special envoy on COVID-19, David Nabarro, said:
We in the World Health Organisation do not advocate lockdowns as the primary measure for the control of the virus.
In the United States, the public health measures averted 60 million infections, researchers found.
As infectious disease epidemiologists and public health scientists we have grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies, and recommend an approach we call Focused Protection.