What justifies a lockdown? That’s the question which, 16 months after the policy was introduced into Western democracies as a draconian tool of disease management, we still don’t have a clear answer to. First sold to the public as a way of mitigating peak health service demand during the initial pandemic wave (and thus supposedly saving lives by ensuring more people could get treated – ignore the irony that the overuse of ventilators during those first few weeks likely increased the mortality rate), the justification has evolved over time. In November it was a “circuit breaker” to save Christmas, though Christmas was not saved. In January it was to buy time to allow the most vulnerable to receive at least their first vaccine dose, though it turned out that was not enough to restore our freedoms.
Yesterday the Prime Minister and his scientific flunkies Chris Witless and Patrick Unbalanced unveiled the Government’s latest excuse to keep the restrictions going. “The objective of this short delay,” said the Prime Minister, “is to use these crucial weeks to save thousands of lives, of lives that would otherwise be lost… by vaccinating millions more people as fast as we can.”
Sir Patrick elaborated on three benefits to the delay:
- Some protection for over-18s as they will have been offered one vaccine by July 19th.
- More protection for over-40s as more of them will have had both their vaccine doses.
- Reopening will be near to the school holidays when no mixing in schools will take place.
What none of the three explained was why these benefits justified four more weeks of restrictions, which hospitality leaders have said will mean a £3 billion loss to the industry during what should be one of its busiest trading periods.