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A newspaper columnist in Australia, which has virtually eliminated the coronavirus through lockdowns, says of the lockdown as a weapon in the fight against the virus: If it was a drug, it would never be approved because its side effects include poverty, unemployment, depression, massive social dislocation, a loss of education and a transfer of risk from the old to the young. What do you think of his view?

39 Comments

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Death vs hardship. How is this so hard for so many to understand?

Not everyone recovers from economic problems. But here is a chance. NOBODY recovers from death.

-1 ( +13 / -14 )

That this completely ignore the severe effect a rampant spreading of the infection would have not only on the public health but in all aspects of the economy. Pretending no problems would have happened without lockdowns is not a valid argument.

6 ( +16 / -10 )

There is no universal approach applicable to any place or country where healthcare and socioeconomic foundations differ considerably. Covid is also mutating. What is once considered most effective might not be so in a new, emerging situation.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The thing is, this journalist is trying to make us believe that all countries have done this and the effects are terrible. But this is not true! Brazil and their ultra right wing leader has scoffed at any kind of shut down and now Brazil is spiraling out of control with infection rates and deaths climbing to unfathomable numbers.

So yes, Australia, New Zealand had very tough lockdowns, but as mentioned above, people can recover from the economic and the psychological effects, but what will be left of Brazil after this will be a devastated country with hundreds of thousands dead and an economy in tatters.

6 ( +14 / -8 )

Well maybe he can go live somewhere else like Brazil and report back how they handle things better?

He’s just a newspaper columnist (unnamed?) not an expert so move onto the next article….

8 ( +14 / -6 )

Sometimes Mother Nature fights back against mankind, whose greed & corruption is destroying this planet

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Who made this quote, JT? My guess would be Andrew Bolt, but you really should state who.

Regardless, I think he makes a good point. Full lockdowns only became a thing when the despicable CCP instituted them in Wuhan; before that the WHO did not recommend them as a weapon to fight pandemics. Focused protection of the vulnerable makes sense, but these lockdowns have been overkill, and comparisons of like-for-like populations such as Florida vs California and N. Dakota vs S. Dakota shows they have no significant positive effect.

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

Weird how lockdowns can even have the reverse effect intended: https://mobile.twitter.com/aginnt/status/1383553315980464133

Does anyone have a source for this quote?

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Still worked.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

But, a lockdown is not a drug... it's a coordinated response to an emergency. Metaphors have their limits. A little more judicious use in their application would be appreciated, please.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Not entirely true. The risk to older people was far greater and had to inform our response to Covid.

Politicians have been balancing lockdowns with the strain on health services, the costs of compensation and the effects on peoples' lives. The compromise is a difficult one.

There is a need to keep the economy and supply chains going, but also to prevent hospitals being overwhelmed.

We are becoming more aware of the damage done to peoples' lives by lockdowns - missed cancer checks, domestic violence and suicides. Rainforest losses increased markedly during lockdown, with closed borders. The damage to education was considerable, especially for younger children who lost the socialisation that primary education offers. The poverty gap has increased.

Lockdowns should become unnecessary as the vaccinations limit severe cases to sub-flu levels. Variants will be a problem, but persistent, lengthy lockdowns will become harder to implement and justify, not easier.

Australia and NZ's solution is not widely viable and may become harder for their citizens to accept over time. Without vaccination they will be prison islands. A large proportion of both populations were born abroad and have relatives abroad. Without vaccinations the danger of infection will remain and sections of the economy will be wiped out without the return of tourism. Not just hotels, but other entities that depend on a level of footfall that domestic tourism cannot replace. Vaccinations are better than switching to North Korean mode and permanently sealing the borders or operating lengthy quarantines for people who may well be Covid-free.

It is likely that herd immunity and high vaccination levels will change how we deal with Covid. It will become just another disease to watch out for. Travel and flu vaccinations are common. Covid jabs will be added to the list.

Tourism-dependent economies, some of which rely on tourism to escape decades of gang violence and support environmental initiatives, will need to open up. The clock is ticking for many of these - smaller islands, Southern Europe, North Africa and countries in South and Central America.

Not getting vaccinations rolled out will soon impact upon economies as badly as Brexit has done on the UK, as others begin to open up.

Most wish to end the lockdowns and open up as soon as it is safe enough to do so. But there is nothing stopping you from implementing your own personal, permanent lockdown if you wish. You can move to somewhere remote and lock yourself away if you feel you need to. You have that choice.

Life is never free of risk. We have always balanced risk and reward. We will deal with Covid better going forward. It has been a brutal learning curve. Things will normalise. Hang on in there, everyone.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Wise words, GBR.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

That guy must be living in the past. They even hand out drugs nowadays if you get vaccinated. Not yet in Australia, but in NYC. Parts of the statement are not completely false, but finally it’s still better not to die immediately when no measures like lockdowns are taken, but to live a little time longer together with those ‘poverty, unemployment, depression, massive social dislocation, a loss of education and a transfer of risk from the old to the young’. It’s now just only left a choice between very bad or even worse.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Why isn’t the columnist’s name - the original writer of the article/column - cited?

10 ( +11 / -1 )

It is not politically correct to criticize Australia's or New Zealand's handling of the coronavirus so I would have to disagree.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

LOL. I see 4 people think people can recover from death.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

It is not politically correct to criticize Australia's or New Zealand's handling of the coronavirus...

You’re entitled to your opinion.

Nonetheless, I’d disagree, as would all my family and friends there.

Enduring the lockdowns was unpleasant for all of them, but their lives are relatively back to normal now.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Not everyone recovers from economic problems. But here is a chance. NOBODY recovers from death.

nobody recovers from suicide due to hardship either

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

nobody recovers from suicide due to hardship either

US average suicide rate per year, is about 45000 , covid 19 in 1 year about 500000

6 ( +10 / -4 )

It is not politically correct to criticize Australia's or New Zealand's handling of the coronavirus so I would have to disagree

nothing to do with politics , everything to do with science. OZ and NZ have proven scientifically that lockdowns work while waiting herd immunity through vaccinations. The countries that are doing the worst are the ones that think continuing like as normal will contain a pandemic.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Australia and New Zealand took actions that saved lives, limited damage to the economy and got peoples lives back to normal as fast as possible. Constant vigilance and cooperation remains a necessary component and Vaccinations continue to roll out.

Last weeks Anzac day football match had a crowd of over 78,000 fans and no covid reported. There are detractors but how many can safely go to a sporting event with so many fans and remain safe anywhere else in the world right now?

We did the hard yards and now we carry on in the new normal, close to the old normal, while we get vaccinated and reach the magical "herd" immunity. Measures will still be needed at the border for people coming into the Country from nations that do not have covid under control. But we are much better placed right now (and hopefully into the future) to keep covid from community spread with the actions we take.

A little uncomfortable it was, but it was required to get to where we are right now. The alternative would have been like America and the UK, who's cultures we are closest to and the results there have been horrendous in lives lost and economic costs.

Call it what ever you like but Aussies and kiwi's call it brilliant, warranted and very effective.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Depends on your perspective.

For a democratic society, it is destructive, for all the reasons the author stated.

Similarly, if you are in the working class and have kids, lockdowns are devastating for the family.

Now, if you are on a fixed income and never leave the house, you could care less.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Lots of fear-mongering still going on. Shutdowns are about fear and control.

COVID impacts only vulnerable segments of the population, primarily elderly with pre-exisitng conditions.

There are simple ways to protect them, while allowing life to go on for everyone else.

Florida figured this out early on, and fared relatively well, despite having a lot of elderly people. California and New York fared no better, despite prolonged shutdowns, devastating millions of small businesses and child development. California schools are still closed to in-person learning. Why?

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

In my opinion, lockdowns alone won't work the same way that contact-tracing, vaccinations and disinfecting alone will work. You need to use all of them, but with discretion. My home country has been in lockdown since March 2020, with no possible end in sight considering the surge of global cases. This might be an unpopular opinion, but eliminating the virus also requires the population to play their part. I just saw a group of people having a drink last night, while two of my coworkers recently tested positive.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Spoiler ahead: this is not a drug. Personally I'm sick of uneducated "journalists" who think their job is to stir the faeces pot without offering alternative solutions to lockdowns.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Avoiding 'social distancing', insisting on 'freedom' to ignore the realities of our physical context which contain elements hostile to us and to become an agent of those hostile threats is part of being 'free', free of responsibility to our fellow Humans, or conscience if our arrogance hurts them. The word which hurts these people the most is 'adaptation'. Humans are designed by their cultures to be stolid, day-to-day tedium tolerant workers who generally have little need to adapt to ANY major changes in their habitual behaviors. Being called upon to change behavior when behavior has come to define one's life by its predictable rote is no easy matter. But living things in our world which cannot adapt to changed circumstances vanish, go extinct as the world around them changes and, lacking the ability to adapt to the changes, find their presence at the communal table less and less numerous until they vanish completely. For Humans, of course, it's a bit different. Those who cannot adapt spend their time criticizing those who can. Fortunately, many of these 'nonadapters' are also of the mind that they have ABSOLUTE right-of-way as pedestrians...so maybe some hope for a drift toward more coherent rationality in our collective Mind...

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

COVID impacts only vulnerable segments of the population, primarily elderly with pre-exisitng conditions.

There are simple ways to protect them, while allowing life to go on for everyone else.

The scientific consensus is that the only realistically possible way to protect them from contagion is to reduce the spreading in the general population, this is because of the relatively high amount of spreading being caused by people without symptoms. The measures necessary for this are not the same nor they have the same effects everywhere, so the methods may change but the end result is the same, controlling the spreading protects everybody including the most vulnerable. "Allowing life to go" for everybody else is simply not something that works according to science.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

This is the side of the story Big Pharma doesn't want heard but needs to be heard. Those suffering the side effects of lockdowns have rights as well.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

My last post should read...

This is the side of the story dictatorial politicians don't want heard but needs to be heard. Those suffering the side effects of lockdowns have rights as well.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

This is the side of the story Big Pharma doesn't want heard but needs to be heard. Those suffering the side effects of lockdowns have rights as well

Except that by "big pharma" you mean the scientific and medical community in general. When science says something that people don't like the excuse most likely to be used (even if its not believable) is that everybody in the world is in a conspiracy to benefit big pharma, even when widespread transmission caused hospitalizations would cause much more profits to it (not to count less losses because pharma companies are also affected by lockdowns).

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Everything I have read suggests that there are not more than a handful of persons in Australia and NZ against border closure and repeated lockdowns so it seems to be enormously popular even amongst those suffering financially or unable to meet family abroad.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

"virtually eliminated the virus"?? Remains to be seen once they open up more. Certainly slowed and contained the spread but it is entirely possible that infection will persist. The side effects of lockdowns are now undeniable and the world will be paying for years to come. Comparing lockdowns to death is not sensible. Not everyone who get the virus dies...... https://www.statista.com/statistics/1105914/coronavirus-death-rates-worldwide/

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

In fairness, it says this quote is coming from a columnist, not a journalist. There is a difference, a columnist being someone who just writes opinions and observations, without any pretense of actual journalism.

Australia looks like a success story to me. I would rather have a period of unemployment than permanent lung damage.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

What do I think?

I think his views will go down very well with a certain type of person.

Lockdown is not a drug. It is a harsh but preventitive measure to get this pandemic under control.

If some people prefer death or permanent ill health to economic hardship, that's up to them. I've known hardship and it's soul destroying. But I'm still alive.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

COVID impacts only vulnerable segments of the population, primarily elderly with pre-exisitng conditions.

There are simple ways to protect them, while allowing life to go on for everyone else.

The scientific consensus is that the only realistically possible way to protect them from contagion is to reduce the spreading in the general population, this is because of the relatively high amount of spreading being caused by people without symptoms.

There is no scientific consensus for lockdowns. Many highly qualified scientific experts oppose lockdowns.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

"virtually eliminated the virus"?? Remains to be seen once they open up more. Certainly slowed and contained the spread but it is entirely possible that infection will persist

Infection will persist as long as there is active transmission anywhere in the world, but if the risk is reduced to levels where it is not important anymore that is a very desirable outcome, specially if other safe and effective measures become available to replace the lockdowns.

There is no scientific consensus for lockdowns. Many highly qualified scientific experts oppose lockdowns.

Outliers are present about every single thing you can think, even people that doubt the microbe origin of infections, that do not indicate that there is no scientific consensus. For that you would need to find examples of well recognized institutions that defend what you belief. How many Universities, Research institutes, Hospitals, etc. of the world have officially declared that lockdowns (or other social distancing measures) have no effect in preventing spreading? none? that is what scientific consensus mean.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

There is no scientific consensus for lockdowns.

Why yes, there is.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Gooch:

Full lockdowns only became a thing when the despicable CCP instituted them in Wuhan;

And which country got the pandemic under control within a few weeks early last year and has never looked back? Hint: its people are now enjoying travelling domestically, and they speak Chinese.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Is it generally agreed that China and Australia had success in controlling the spread through a lock-down? If so, shouldn't more countries implement it? Recession and poverty is not death.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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