The case for permanent lockdown

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It might sound crazy but hear me out.

When I use the term ‘lockdown’, I mean setting strict regulations on when we may leave the house and the number of people who may gather in one place, enforced wearing of masks, and restrictions on where we may travel.

We’ve never previously managed to create a safe and effective vaccine against a coronavirus.  This forces us to consider the very real possibility that we may never have an effective vaccine against this new and frightening infection.

So far, lockdown has proved extremely effective at controlling Covid-19.  Wherever social distancing has been enforced, infection rates have eventually fallen.  Some places have not yet locked down, but they either suffered somewhat higher infection rates (Sweden) or are ticking time bombs that will probably go off soon (Taiwan, South Korea).

If the virus turns out to be a permanent part of our lives, some level of lockdown must also be permanent.

Even if Covid-19 is brought under control, there are many other harmful viruses that may spread among us, and new ones keep evolving all the time.  At the moment we must fear bird flu, Ebola, SARS, MERS, swine flu, and even regular influenza and the common cold.

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Lockdowns have proved so effective against Covid-19, we can safely assume that it would also be effective against these pathogens.  Why wait for a fresh outbreak?  By locking down now, we could severely limit how far they would be able to spread among us.

A ‘pandemic’ means an epidemic that has spread across two or more continents.  This used to be impossible.  In ancient times, disease could spread from Asia to Europe via trade routes, but could not travel to the Americas, Australia, or other far-flung places.  This is why unknown diseases caused such havoc among native peoples once contact occurred.

By permanently restricting global travel, we can return to a situation where diseases are a local phenomenon, and need not be shared.

Of course, essential travel should be allowed.  Important professionals such as politicians, academics, journalists, and UN/NGO personnel, together with celebrities campaigning for worthy causes, should be allowed to move around freely.  High levels of immigration must also continue, especially from developing to developed countries, as this is part of efforts towards enriching out society and achieving global equity.

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However, there is no reason for ordinary people to be flying all over the world for any old reason.  Aside from high carbon emissions, such mass freedom enables viruses to easily spread from place to place.

Authorities should grant permission for people to travel for a reasonable, specific reason, i.e. female volunteers heading to Africa or the Caribbean.  People should not be granted permission to travel for frivolous reasons, such as a ‘holiday’, for ‘diving’, or to see ‘historical sites’. That inevitably means sex tourism.

Closer to home, there is no reason for most people to be wandering around like Brown’s cows.

Why must people constantly come and go from cities, wasting resources?  We have everything we could possibly want in cities.  It has long struck me as absurd that people are free to leave them at any time, with or without a legitimate need.  This, in a nutshell, is why our wilderness areas are suffering so much degradation.  If beaches and national parks were kept safe from human encroachment, nature would have a chance to heal.  We have already seen wildlife returning to many areas due to the reduction in human activity over the last few months.

We should also re-imagine travel within cities.

Up until now, we have had the bizarre situation where any person can randomly decide  on a Tuesday evening, ‘I’m going to go buy a bottle of wine.’  They then drive to the shop, which clogs up traffic, releases poisonous carbon, and raises the potential road toll; buy the wine and probably also some other junk they don’t really need while they’re there, then drive home again.

The present system of ‘essential trips only’ or quarantine passes greatly limits traffic, which has caused a reduction in land vehicle accidents, road congestion, and carbon emissions.  It’s time we rethought our obsession with having the ‘freedom’ to rush around for the latest, consumerist urge.  When we are faced with reasonable limits, we reflect on our purchasing decisions and decide what’s really important.  We might even opt for healthier or more socially responsible options.

In any case, there are many home-delivery apps these days.  These reduce the need for travel and can easily be monitored to identify those making too many unnecessary purchases.

Literally everybody except for frontliners can work from home these days.  Nobody else has any legitimate reason for leaving the house.

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Face-to-face classes, on the other hand, need to resume immediately.  It is absurd that the government expects parents to supervise online classes while we are supposed to be working.

Parents are not the state’s free daycare service.

The closure of gyms has been a boon to our image-obsessed culture.  No more grunting bros and women brainwashed into objectifying their own bodies.  We can all save money, and our dignity, by doing simple, moderate exercises at home and being fit at any size.  Gyms are  unnecessary and wasteful.

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And don’t get me started on nightclubs, or ‘rape hubs’ as they might be more accurately described.  Sweaty bodies, unattractive men, aggressive drunks – yuck.  Most ‘social’ venues are now redundant due to the prevalence of dating apps.  Do we really need to reopen nightclubs?  Maybe restaurants and cafes would be okay, with strict 50% capacity limits and rules against approaching strangers, but even that’s more than enough socialization for anyone.

All this may sound extreme, but to some extent it mirrors proposals from the World Economic Forum, the United Nations Development Program, and other global thought leaders.

Many of us are waking up to a strange fact: this lockdown has been wonderful for our souls.  Peaceful, safe, idyllic, with material thoughts put aside.  We’re sleeping better, chatting online with friends more often, thinking, and sharing our thoughts.

Many of us are secretly dreading going back to work and to our regular schedules.

Let’s stay home.  Forever.

16 comments

  1. philebersole · June 4, 2020

    Hi, Nikolai. You had me going for a minute.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Kentucky Headhunter · June 4, 2020

    Wow, gorgeous pic of that beach from the hilltop, but I bet its not quite as pretty from down on the sand.

    Like

  3. Kentucky Headhunter · June 4, 2020

    I’ve wanted to visit OZ and NZ for a long time, and had a chance to go once, but it would have been a 3-week trip with my new in-laws, so I passed.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. luisman · June 4, 2020

    Has the lockdown turned Nikolai into a genderneutral funophobe? Then I read
    […]and UN/NGO personnel, together with celebrities campaigning for worthy causes, should be allowed to move around freely[…]
    and laughed.
    It’s kind of Huffpost-worthy though 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  5. luisman · June 4, 2020

    Reblogged this on Nicht-Linke Blogs.

    Like

  6. L. Beau Macaroni · June 5, 2020

    Evidently, April Fools Day came late this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Phil B · June 5, 2020

    For gawds sake, don’t give the buggers ides … even in jest.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. dickycone · June 5, 2020

    I’m not sure what scantily-clad Latina policewomen have to do with any of this, but I’ll admit that I’m intrigued.

    Like

  9. Gunner Q · June 6, 2020

    Let me play with friends at the beach and I’ll okay with banning all work forever. Universal basic income!

    Like

  10. collegereactionary · June 19, 2020

    Internal passports: the true Vladivostok solution.

    I believe that Russia still has this restriction in place for certain districts, and China? Forget about it. In China you need a pass just to live in one of their cities.

    Like

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