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< Back to question How do we think about the UK lockdown debate? Show more Show less

The coronavirus pandemic has led to unprecedented isolation measures throughout the world. One effect has been the creation of ideological blocs across traditional party lines, lobbying for different approaches to containing the virus. UK lockdown came into effect on March 23, shutting down non-essential business and movement outside the home, bar a single daily outing for exercise. Critics variously describe this decision as too late, too little, too much and overblown. So, who are these groups, what do they stand for, and why?

The libertarian position, or 'End lockdown now!' Show more Show less

At the heart of this approach is the belief that lockdown is a violation of fundamental human rights. Its proponents range from the UK alt right, to high court judges, to commentators seeing the closure of British drinking holes as a bleak symbol of authoritarian rule.
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The greater good must come first

Coronavirus overwhelmingly affects those with severe underlying conditions, whose health was already in jeopardy. Making hardline policy decisions to simply extend the low quality lives of sickly individuals comes at the price of economic destruction. It is wrong to prioritise an infirm minority, when the repercussions could devastate quality of life for generations. Proponents include German MEP Jens Gieseke and Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
covid health politics
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Proponents


The Argument

There are countless risks and consequences associated with keeping billions of people on lockdown for an unknown amount of time. Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles found a rise in violence against women during lockdown and quarantine.[1] Data collected by The New York Times shows that staying at home during the pandemic is a luxury, primarily reserved for the wealthiest of citizens. Lower-income people do not have the luxury to take off work or stay home and are disproportionately affected by a dwindling or halting economy. [2] Not to mention, lockdowns and restrictions have disastrous effects on local business. In Massachusetts, which has almost 7 million people, 20 percent of restaurants have closed for good.[3] In the UK, the GDP lost almost 30 points between February and April. It rebounded in June and July but has only regained 50 % of what it lost.[4] All this, for a virus that is deadly to people over 75 more than anyone else. In the UK, over half of the deaths from Covid-19 has come from citizens over 75. Almost 39,000 people over 75 have died in the UK as a result of Covid-19, compared to less than 14,000 people under 75. Damian Wilson, a UK journalist writing for Russia Today, suggests that keeping a lockdown in place for a virus that, by and large, kills people over 75, is ludicrous.[5] Further, he argues that preventing children from going to school is disastrous to the development of their future, and that these effects far outweigh the costs of reopening the country.

Counter arguments

If the lockdown is not enforced and the virus is allowed to run its course, the National Health System (NHS) will be overwhelmed, and disproportionate fatalities are likely to occur among medics. The damage to the NHS and its staff will affect the future well beyond the period of Covid-19. We should enforce lockdown to protect the greater good.

Premises

Rejecting the premises


References

  1. https://www.nber.org/papers/w27562.pdf
  2. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/04/03/us/coronavirus-stay-home-rich-poor.html
  3. https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/09/08/lifestyle/about-20-percent-massachusetts-restaurants-have-closed-good/
  4. https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/articles/coronaviruscovid19roundup/2020-03-26#coviddeaths
  5. https://www.rt.com/op-ed/488792-london-covid-19-r-number-04/

This page was last edited on Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 19:42 UTC

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