By Paul Salahuddin Armstrong
Are lockdowns really saving lives, or will they ultimately prove to be more disruptive and deadly than COVID-19?
I certainly don’t mean to downplay the seriousness of COVID-19 and have been promoting the NHS, CDC, and government health guidelines throughout the pandemic.
However, I’m concerned that 6 months of lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions are having a more devastating impact on people’s lives than the virus itself.
Currently, it is true that we are seeing a rise in recorded cases of COVID-19, but we should keep in mind that more people than ever before are being tested for COVID-19. Were the test rates similar to what they were back in April and May, at the height of the pandemic, would we be seeing anything like the number of reported COVID-19 cases we are seeing now? The answer should be obvious, we wouldn’t. The increase in reported cases of COVID-19 is mostly due to the increase in testing.
Consider instead the death rate… The death rate for COVID-19 in the UK declined significantly in May, and has long since flattened. Is it realistic to get to a point where we will have 0 fatalities from COVID-19, when we don’t have 0 fatalities from other viruses such as flu?
The fatality rate surely gives us a more realistic view of where we are in this pandemic than the number of cases reported.
I spoke to an undertaker the other day, he told me that they are not generally seeing people dying of COVID-19 now, but of causes of death related to the lockdown, such as people dying from long-term illnesses like cancers, where maybe they didn’t get all their medical treatment during lockdown, or there had been delays in treatment.
Focusing only on COVID-19 is causing us to miss the bigger picture – COVID-19 is far from the only cause of death in this country or around the world at this time! In addition we are neglecting our economies, and causing already poor people to get poorer. This in turn will cause immense suffering to ordinary people and this includes deaths.
Then at this time, when actual deaths from COVID-19 are relatively low and certainly far lower than they were at the height of the pandemic, local lockdowns are being imposed on a number of cities across the country and a regional lockdown is being planned across the North, that sounds as if it will be as restrictive as the national lockdown earlier this year.
How are people and businesses supposed to survive, and get through further months of lockdowns and maddening restrictions, after already going through 6 months of lockdowns and tight restrictions? How are they going to do business and earn a living to support themselves and their families?
In these last few months of 2020, is it not time to reassess everything we’ve been doing over the past year in the fight against COVID-19, and ensure that we are making the right decisions that are really beneficial for everyone and our country as a whole?