President Donald Trump’s daughter has been criticized after retweeting a video on Tuesday showing a restaurant owner’s reaction to being cited for defying a California closure order. Ivanka said; ‘These blanket lockdowns are not grounded in science. These arbitrary rules imposed by callous politicians are destroying lives. It is just wrong for small business owners to have (to) fight so hard to keep their American dream alive.’
These blanket lockdowns are not grounded in science. These arbitrary rules imposed by callous politicians are destroying lives. It is just wrong for small business owners to have fight so hard to keep their American dream alive. https://t.co/Z8O1m5fpp0— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) December 15, 2020
Some social media commentators branded Ivanka a ‘fake scientist’ pointing out that she has no scientific or medical background, and saying that her claims are politically motivated. Citizens for Ethics responded to her post by saying; ‘It will never stop amazing us that in the midst of the worst pandemic in a century rather than turning to doctors and science, the closest advisors to the president were his fashion-brand owning daughter and her slumlord husband. This is why we need tighter nepotism laws.’
For the majority of people lockdowns and quarantines imposed by governments to slow the spread of the coronavirus have been the first time their daily life and freedom of movement has been so severely impaired. A third of the world has been under some form of lockdown in an attempt to halt the infection rate of the coronavirus. As months drag on and lockdown after lockdown is implemented increasing the rate of poverty, homelessness, mental health issues, domestic abuse and suicide rates the question has been asked; do lockdowns actually work?
Professor Johan Giesecke, a Swedish physician acknowledges the fact that lockdowns will have the effect of not overwhelming health systems, but he believes that all that lockdowns do is postpone cases and deaths that will happen eventually anyway. Giesecke also said that; ‘It has become clear that a hard lockdown does not protect old and frail people living in care homes—a population the lockdown was designed to protect. Nether does it decrease mortality from COVID-19 which is evident when comparing the United Kingdowns experience with that of other European countries.’
Another more targeted approach put forth is to try and limit the spread of the virus among the most vulnerable. The overwhelming majority, being nearly 75% of deaths from COVID-19 patients occur in patients over the age of sixty-five years of age. Of those approximately 90% have other underlying health conditions Controlling the spread of the virus seems to be most imperative among those who operate within the health care system and are elderly.
A tough lockdown definitely halts the spread of the virus temporarily but not everyone agrees with the use of lockdowns as an ongoing solution. British television personality Saria Khan recently wrote for The Mirror and said ‘Continuous lockdowns will be human disaster on colossal scale.’ Her view has been confirmed by nearly 70 English general practitioners led by high profile names such as Dr Phil Hammond and Dr Ellie Cannon. In a letter written to health secretary Matt Hancock, they declared; ‘a one-track response to rising cases threatens more lives and livelihoods than Covid lives saved…. We do not wish to undermine the seriousness of pandemic management, but the wider harm to babies, children, young people and adults of all ages can no longer be ignored.’
Doctors who have access to their patients are able to deliver a snap shot of how the general public is responding to the effects of the pandemic and the lockdowns induced in an effort to reduce the infection rate. They have first hand knowledge of the mental and physical state of the population. Khan writes; ‘I am neither politician nor scientist, but I do understand that the coronavirus is more transmissible and deadly than seasonal flu… I also understand the very low risk to the average person of developing severe illness…. How can I agree with policies that just don’t make sense anymore? ..Why should we close business’s which, on Government advice, have invested time and money in implementing social distancing measures, only to be told too close.‘
Khan’s views are more in line with Ivanka Trumps, however most are divided on the value of lockdowns and desperate governments seem reliant on them in an attempt to quell growing infection rates and deaths and not overwhelm health systems. Like many issues associated with COVID-19 the ultimate value of lockdowns is still uncertain. The aftermath of economic ruin for many is inevitable along with other negative side effects. Like any medicine the benefits of lockdown need to be weighed against the aftermath of human suffering especially for poorer countries and the future generations who Khan says will be ‘paying the price for our lack of foresight today.’ and the need to slow the death rate of a virus out of control.