Nothinguptop – “there is a strong understanding of the deaths this kind of thing inevitably leads to.
Not so. China had a huge outbreak, locked down hard and controlled it. In South Korea, infection got into a travelling evangelical church leading to initial high numbers, but through prompt action (and I suppose some luck) those infected were traced, and further outbreaks were thereby suppressed. New Zealand acted pre-emptively, closing its borders and applying restrictions early, thereby keeping numbers remarkably low.
“Lockdown” is misunderstood, because none of the official spokespeople or media have explained it. Preferably, “lockdown” is a tool of last resort, for when infection numbers are too high for tracing with testing and quarantine to be practical. Based on the current death rate I guess there to be about 400,000 potentially infectious people in the UK right now. Finding them, and everyone they have shared air with in recent days, and testing all of these hopelessly overwhelms the capacity for doing so.
Seemingly paradoxically, this also made “lockdown” the tool of first resort in this particular pandemic. Because it was a brand new virus, test kits were in very short supply, but production increased rapidly.
The government should have shown leadership, explaining why we needed “lockdown” and the conditions under which it could be lifted – “When we have x times as many test kits as infections, we’ll be able to control this with tracking, testing and quarantine. Until then, our only means to control it is by staying locked down”. That would have given the population a goal to work towards.
Instead we have been given chaotic and confusing messages, most people have been denied sufficient support for avoiding cross-infection through work, and hardly any quarantine facilities have been provided. It’s government abdication of responsibility on a massive scale. Dealing with this sort of emergency is the purpose of having governments, but forty years of “leave everything to the markets” and “There Is No Alternative” have left us, preditably, with no alternative.