Ending the Coronavirus lockdown?

Published April 12, 2020

Coming out of the lockdown period is difficult.

To come out of lockdown, we need to in some way ensure that the virus will not spread at a fast rate throughout the general population.

So far we have tried to manage the spread with social distancing, which is effective the sense that it slows the spread, but it does nothing to improve our position.

The only way our position improves is with either eradication of the virus, which seems unrealistic given how widespread it has become, or immunity.

Immunity only occurs with either a vaccine, which we don't have and may not have for a long time, or by most of the population having caught the virus.

Currently, with lockdown, we are opting for the latter. We are just trying to let it spread through the population at such a slow rate that the health service can cope with the demand placed upon it. However, this will still result in a lot of deaths, and the economic damage is likely to be immense (which will also result in deaths).

So coming out of lockdown is difficult. Even a phased exit seems hard to imagine. There is one extremely big problem when it comes to restoring economic function, and that's this:

This was the view on my train the last day I was in the office. Many people will recognise this as being a regular occurrence, possibly a daily one.

Less than 24 hours before this photo was taken, I'd had diarrhoea (which has been noted as a possible early symptom of the coronavirus) and, although at the time I took the photo I felt fine, less than 48 hours after I was essentially bed-bound with a high temperature, which I strongly suspect was the coronavirus. It's very likely, given the proximity, that I also gifted my illness to multiple people that morning.

There's no way to safely exit the lockdown whilst commuting to work looks like the above for millions of people. It's not possible to keep a low rate of transmission in those conditions.

Filed under: health, coronavirus