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Facts & Myths: Do We Really Need Lockdowns?

While studying the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the retail industry - ClothingRIC’s team came upon some astonishing facts. Our goals have always been to assist online shoppers in saving valuable money. And now more than ever, we thought it would be helpful if we painted a clear picture of the situation. 

Last month, we analyzed just how much Americans spend on clothing. But things have changed since then. More people are now worried about losing their livelihood and going bankrupt due to the COVID-19 lockdowns. 

But were those lockdowns really necessary? Is the world including the US overreacting?

Some people believe lockdowns do more harm than good. Others consider them a necessary evil.

Below, we are going to analyze all the popular arguments against lockdowns based on the data available. Once again, our goal is to not push an agenda but to provide a clear perspective to the readers on the basis of stats and numbers. 

The Arguments Against Lockdowns:

People who oppose closing down businesses to stop the spread of coronavirus have presented the following arguments. 

Argument #1: Coronavirus is Not that Deadly

There has been discussion about the deadliness of coronavirus. While everyone agrees the novel virus is dangerous, many believe it’s insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Many people believe that deaths caused by other diseases and accidents outweigh those caused by COVID-19. 

To an extent, that is the truth.

Here were the major causes of deaths in the United States in 2017 according to the CDC:

Disease Victims
Heart Diseases 647,457
Cancer 599,108
Accidents (unintentional injuries) 169,936
Chronic lower respiratory diseases 160,201
Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases) 146,383
Alzheimer’s disease 121,404
Diabetes 83,564
Influenza and Pneumonia 55,672
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis 50,633
Intentional self-harm (suicide) 47,173

The total number of deaths combined is 2,081,531 minus self-harm and accidents this makes up a total of 1,864,422 people dying from diseases. 

Coronavirus has so far killed 2,998 people in the US(as of March 31). Since the first case was identified on January 20th, this is around 42 deaths per day. According to the United Nations World Population report, an estimated 7452 people die every day in America. 


If one goes by the above data, it may seem that the coronavirus' part in the country’s mortality rate is insignificant. However, it’s the rate at which the infection is spreading coupled with the death rate that is worrying.

As of March 31, about 3148 people have died from COVID-19. 565 deaths have occurred in the last two days.

Argument #2: Lockdowns May Cause Irreparable Damage 

 
Some of the worrying factors of the lockdowns are:

  • More than one billion children are out of school
  • 47 million people could lose their jobs in the United States alone
  • There reports of a drastic increase in domestic violence
 
Together with this, the entire social fabric of countries in the world has collapsed. With weddings, celebrations and everything canceled, life has come to a halt. There is also a psychological aspect of the lockdowns as people are feeling isolated and lonely. This can lead to an increase in depression and anxiety as many experts have warned. 
 
However, it’s been noted that online business has seen a spike as most retail outlets are closed for business. Brands like Pipette Baby that market hand sanitizers are seeing a sudden rise in sales. The company has even put out a Pipette Baby discount code to provide a much-needed discount to consumers. People are also buying toilet paper and groceries from the web. 
 
Along with essential items, people are ordering clothes, exercise equipment and household items online. Brands such as Savage X Fenty have churned out great deals in the wake of the lockdowns. These can be used with Savage X Fenty promo codes. Meanwhile, retails that deal with accessories like jewelery are also cutting prices. One such store PURELEI has 10% off on its latest items for fashion lovers who wish to stay stylish in social isolation.
 
However, while lockdowns may have deemed necessary by states battling the scourge of coronavirus, they can not be imposed forever. Not all businesses can be performed online and brick-and-mortar stores are suffering due to the current circumstances. Governments would need to craft strategies and bring life back to normal and they need to do it fast.

Argument #3: Coronavirus No More Dangerous Than the Seasonal Flu


Coronavirus has been frequently compared to the seasonal flu. Before the novel virus wreaked havoc on the earth, it was deemed as bad as the influenza outbreak that occurs around the winter season. 

But the numbers tell a different story. 

The number provided by the CDC shows that around 0.1% who get the flu die. But the death rate of coronavirus is 4.7%. It does vary from country to country. In Italy, the death rate is around 11%. In the United States, it currently stands at 1%

During the 2018-19 flu season, an estimated 35 million contracted flu, 34,000 of these individuals died. This means one out of every 1000 people who got the flu died. For people over the age of 65, the rate was 83 for every 1000 while for children, it was only one for 1000.


Both the flu and coronavirus are particularly deadly for the older segment of the population. But Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases has termed coronavirus “10 times deadlier” than the flu.

Coronavirus is far lethal across ages and more dangerous for the elderly. Countries like Italy where the median age is 47.3 are reporting far greater casualties than any other country on the planet. The novel infection is also far deadlier for people with pre-existing conditions like heart problems, diabetes and respiratory illnesses. Moreover, coronavirus is going to overwhelm the healthcare system in countries including the United States as more people are admitted.

Argument #4: Herd Immunity is a Better Strategy than Lockdowns


Herd immunity is a strategy where enough people are immune to a disease, an infected person will not be able to cause an outbreak. So even if all individuals are not immune to the disease, the herd will have immunity. 

For this strategy to work, an absolute majority needs to be immune. In the case of measles for instance, the vaccination rate needs to be around 93 to 95% according to WHO otherwise there will be an outbreak.

Using this strategy in the absence of a vaccine would imply 90% of the population getting the disease. This could cause many deaths as the mortality rate of COVID-19 ranges from 1% to 11%. If United States (population 327.2 million), it tries this strategy, it will lose more than 3.3 million people in the best case scenario.

Moreover, it is not yet established that people who’ve recovered from coronavirus become immune to it for life. There have been reports of recovered affectees testing positive for the virus again. 

Perhaps for these reasons, countries such as the UK that initially tested the herd immunity strategy have walked backed on it. 

Argument #5: Others Viral Outbreaks Haven’t Caused Lockdowns 


Ebola epidemic occurred in 2013-2016. There were 28,652 cases across 10 countries. Several patients of this disease were even brought to the United States. The mortality rate of this disease was far greater than that of coronavirus. Of all the individuals who were infected with this, 50% passed away. However, since this virus spread through bodily fluids like blood and sweat when the patient was in the last stages, it was contained. 

Likewise, the swine flu pandemic in 2009-10 infected around 60.8 million Americans according to the CDC. It resulted in 274,000 hospitalizations and around 12,500 -making its mortality rate to about 0.02%.

Comparison of Recent Outbreaks
Diseases Time Period No. of Affectees Casualties Mortality Rate
Ebola Dec 2013-June 2016 28,652 11,323 50%
Swine Flu April 2009-August 2010 700 million to 1.4 billion (estimated) 150,000–575,000 (CDC estimates) 0.02%
Coronavirus Dec 2019-On Going (March 31st) 857,299 42,114 1%-11%

The rate of coronavirus growth combined with its mortality rate makes it the deadliest of all recent outbreaks. 

Argument #6: Lockdowns Might End Up Killing More People


Lockdowns around the world have resulted in some major layoffs.

Major Layoffs Due to Coronavirus Lockdowns
Companies Employees Laid Off
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) 10,000 employees
Norwegian Airlines 7,300 employees
Pebblebrook Hotel Trust 8,000 employees
Union Square Hospitality Group 2,000 employees
Cirque du Soleil 4445 employees
Air Canada 5,100 employees
General Electric 2,500 employees
Everlane 200 employees

If past recessions are any indication, an increase in unemployment rates leads to mental health issues and spike in suicide cases. In the United Kingdom alone, 6507 people took their lives due to economic worries. Similarly, many researchers estimate that the 2007 economic crisis in North America and Europe led to as many as 10,000 extra suicides. In United States alone, around 4,750 additional suicides were reported.

Unlike the pandemic itself, the economic meltdown caused by it impacts young and old alike. While young individuals have better chances of being reemployed, sometimes this depends on them moving to a place with better employment prospects. With the current crisis being global, the chances of this happening are slim.

The working class will face insurmountable struggle due to the on-going lockdowns, even with the United States announcing a 2 trillion dollar stimulus package and the UK taking similar measures. The government will have a tough task looking after 3.3 million Americans who have already filled for unemployment. 

But that is just the tale of ‘developed world'. In developing countries, lockdowns spell disaster for people on daily wages. 

In India, around 450 million people are associated with the informal economy. Many of these have been left without a livelihood due to the on-going lockdown. Situation is the same in countries like Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Nigeria and others. 
The situation all around the world is so dire that Germany’s Finance Minister Thomas Schaefer has committed suicide. The minister was said to be “deeply worried” on how his country will be able to cope with the economic impact of COVID-19 on his country. 

It’s too early to claim that lockdowns might end up killing more people than the virus itself. Coronavirus has so far claimed 42,000 lives. But it’s extremely likely that many people will die if the current lockdowns persist. 

Argument #7: There are Better Alternatives than Lockdowns


South Korea has been deemed as one of the successful models in dealing with coronavirus. Instead of opting for a country-wide lockdown, it used the strategy of mass testing. Initially, the country conducted more tests than any other country. 

This helped it isolate the affected and prevent the virus from spreading further.


South Korea has been able to flatten the curve and is currently reporting a decreasing number of new cases.


Japan is another country that has so far been able to contain COVID-19 without enforcing any major shutdowns. This proves that there are indeed better alternatives than lockdowns if a government is a bit proactive. 
In United States, mass testing is being conducted since last several weeks. America has now conducted more tests than more test than any other country. This a better strategy than a country-wide lockdown.


Argument #8: Staying at Home is an Overkill, Masks and Sanitizers Are Enough


People have been told to #StayAtHome during this crisis. Experts have recommended social distancing as a tool to combat the spread. However, many people believe masks, sanitizers, avoiding handshakes and constantly washing hands is not enough. 

WHO recommends using masks only for people who are taking care of suspected patients. The data around the effectiveness of masks is inconclusive. Some experts even believe they give a false sense of security. Others consider them a great preventive measure. 

N95 respirators are said to be the most effective masks as they filter out 95% particles in the air. But these masks are in short-supply and are needed by doctors and medical staff.

Meanwhile, washing your hands is vital in stopping coronavirus but the virus mainly spreads through droplets according to the World Health Organization. This means a person coughing or sneezing in close proximity to others can easily pass on the virus as others breathe in. No amount of hand sanitizers or hand washing can help in this scenario. 

Some Common Myths About the Virus

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 outbreak has been accompanied by a slew of misinformation. From bizarre testing techniques where a person has to hold their breath for more than 10 seconds to ridiculous conspiracy theories about the virus’s origin -there are myths circulating among the masses. 

1.  Coronavirus is a bioweapon


The research so far suggests that coronavirus may have emerged from bats. Just like the SARS virus of 2002, there’s strong evidence this virus has been transferred from animals to humans. 

2.   It has been hyped by politicians


With more than 12,000 deaths in Italy, the notion that coronavirus was hyped by politicians has been disproven. Even the President of the United States who initially played down the seriousness of the virus is now taking some serious measures. 

3.   It Will Go Away in Summer


Usually, the spread of viruses slow down in warm weather and humid conditions. However, since COVID-19 is a novel disease, it’s not yet known how it will fare in summer. Experts do believe the spread will slow down but the weather will not be enough to curtail the outbreak. 

Conclusion

COVID-19 pandemic has put billions of people under a lockdown.  All over the world, schools, offices, public transport and businesses that sell non-essential products have closed down. 

While this strategy may help for the time-being, it is unsustainable for a long period of time. As the economy suffers, a lot of workers across the world will be staring down at possible starvation. The developing countries will be more badly hit than those with large economies if the lockdown persists.

Published On: April 01, 2020


Evelyn Johnson

Evelyn Johnson is a blogger who mostly writes about fashion, culture and money saving. She keeps up with the ever-changing trends in the apparel industry and gives her two cents on things. When she’s not smashing a keyboard, Evelyn consumes a copious amount of reality television.







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