Vaccination – the better alternative to lockdowns

A lockdown is an extreme measure. However, some people have seen so many, they think it is the answer to Covid and many other concerns too. Wealthy countries such as Australia cannot afford to lockdown either. Australian Premier Scott Morrison has said so in a recent speech and added that the country wants to achieve a 70 percent vaccination rate and then ease the lockdowns that have been plaguing major cities such as Melbourne and Sydney.

Morrison faced the spectacle of protests against lockdowns in Australia and that seems to have shocked him back to life from his state of unreality, because Australia has never been a nation of protests. However, the crowds in Sydney protesting against the latest bout of closures were estimated to be at least 15,000 and the mass gatherings led to arrests only because some of the participants hurled projectiles at the police.

Sky News (Australia) commentators have been taking potshots at Morrison and his colleagues for weeks now for having the temerity to lockdown. The protesting Australians have not all gone mad. They know the cost to the economy and to ordinary lives because of the closures, and are smart enough to know that managing Covid and running a viable economy is a balancing act.

The protesters may have been flung in jail but they have jolted Australian politicians and the ruling elite to a realization that came naturally to Sri Lankan policymakers a long time ago. Lockdowns are punitive and they are no answer to a health crisis that is as dangerous as it is – is also the subject of media hype. In other countries, the vaccination rollouts have ensured that restrictions by and large have been lifted. In Scotland there are no physical distancing rules, no limits on the size of social gatherings, and all venues and businesses can now open.

It is all down to the success of the vaccination rollouts in Scotland and England. At least these politicians in Europe have been more rational about opening up than the Australians who have been locking down after a fashion, and had to be rudely jolted into reality.

Unsustainable lockdowns

“At 70 percent vaccination rates and 80 percent vaccination rates, then Australia is able to move out of what is really an unsustainable lockdown situation,” Australian Premier Morrison announced this week. Morrison warned that Australia “cannot live with lockdowns forever” and that at some point, the states and territories needed to “change gears”.

He has also been candid about the fact that the country would never achieve “Covid Zero”. It means that there would be cases even if the vaccination rate is well over 70 percent. But then the focus would be on manageable hospitalizations and the rational use of Intensive Care Units (ICUs) etc., rather than lockdowns.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in his Address to the Nation last week echoed almost identical sentiments. Particularly in the case of Sri Lanka, each day lost to a lockdown – as new Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella bluntly characterized the closures – is massively devastating to the economy. The losses have kept mounting, but it is not just the numbers, it is the toll on ordinary lives, particularly of daily wage earners and other professionals that is galling.

Those who have a partiality towards lockdowns are either perverse – or are cynically manipulative, which is also perverse. There is that loquacious Harini the Jenny come lately from the JVP for instance who cheered on the teachers’ protests and said the Government is using inter-provincial lockdowns and travel bans to muzzle these protests but offered the very next week that Covid deaths are all down to the Government’s account for not locking down, or words to that effect. These people are ghouls. Their self-serving politics is so transparently cynical that they have irredeemably exposed themselves.

However, there is another category of persons that cry lockdown because they think they are conscientious. These are the self-righteous types who think they are exemplary because they are stoic and willing to make sacrifices. This type of perversity is dangerous and galling as well. Such people have no concern for the collateral damage from lockdowns, with people dying of other treatable diseases because they postpone medical treatment under lockdown restrictions. The mental health repercussions from these closures are also incalculable in the long run.

Saving lives

“We prioritize efforts to save lives from a known cause even if more lives would be saved through alternative responses,” writes scientist Ari Joffe in a public health related academic paper published in Australia. Simplified, this means that the lockdown mentality is a result of groupthink and virtue signalling. Though overall more lives would be saved without lockdowns – because people will not be driven to extreme measures such as suicide or alcoholism due to the crushing burden of lockdown economics for instance – the group-thinking, virtue signaling morons cannot think beyond their noses. This lot includes doctors and other so-called medical experts too, that seem to be unable to stop grandstanding on these occasions pretending to be saviours when they are in fact the epitome of idiocy, at least some of them. There was one so- called expert who advocated that Police barge into homes to ensure that people are wearing face masks in their bedrooms.

We have had one lockdown too many and President Rajapaksa, acutely aware of the consequences of these measures, has advocated the vaccine policy that aims for herd immunity through the jabs which have been imported and are administered free of charge – though that is no easy achievement in a country such as ours that has no easy access to vaccine resources.

Lockdowns are evil, and that is a no-brainer. “The economic recession has been framed as the economy versus saving lives from Covid-19, but this is a false dichotomy. The economic recession, through austerity in Government spending on the social determinants of health, can be expected to cause far more loss of life and wellbeing over the long-run than Covid-19 can. We must open up society to save many more lives than we can by attempting to avoid every case (or even most cases) of Covid-19,” writes researcher Joffe.

Certain dumb doctors cannot understand this. I repeat, certain dumb doctors and other numbskull medical personnel cannot comprehend this. They have a one-track mind. It is after going by their advice and failing, that those such as the Australian Premier have had to turn around and announce that vaccine aided herd immunity has to be achieved – and done fast.

Multitude of factors

There are also the numbers of deaths to be considered. They are minuscule as a percentage of the population, and it has been calculated that the excess deaths after Covid are not just excess deaths from Covid. They are excess deaths from a multitude of factors. The long-term deaths as a number that can be attributed to lockdowns would simply be much greater than the deaths from Covid.

It is the ignorant baying mobs that want lockdowns. They are too ignorant and uninformed to consider the issues such as those pointed to with evidence by researcher Joffe. It ill behooves a Government to be bamboozled by ignoramuses into repeatedly locking down. 

But vaccinations are another story and are certainly the better alternative to lockdowns. Herd immunity can be achieved even without vaccines, but that would take much longer which is why a country such as Sweden which never had lockdowns has however taken enthusiastically to vaccines though not mandating them.

Even after vaccinating a greater percentage of the population, there would be some asking for lockdowns. They would cite New Zealand. Just because Jacinda Ardern is a poster girl of sorts for “good governance” it does not make her any less stupid. In any event a country such as ours with such a large proportion of the underprivileged and the poor cannot be compared to New Zealand. As has been pointed out repeatedly by researchers such as Joffe, the obvious fact is that the poorer the community, the more it is hit adversely by lockdowns. Vaccination is the far better option and there cannot be any interim or intermittent lockdowns when a reasonable level of vaccination is achieved. Such closures would be a blot on the viability of our democracy, which would be seen as having caved into the hysteria of the ignorant mob.

– Daily News Sri Lanka

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