Why extended periods of lockdowns are not the answer for pandemics

Mahesh Prabhu

Mahesh Prabhu

Udupi Mahesh Prabhu is a seasoned media, management & political consultant. He is a Founder and Chairman of Vedic Management Center and Vivaswaan. A fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland, London (UK) and member of the International Federation of Journalists(USA), he also holds a Masters in Business Administration with a specialization in Marketing. For more info visit www.indiamahesh.com

Much of the world has been under lockdown for over a month at present. And many governments are looking at extending the lockdown period as a “preventive measure.” Governments that are trying to end lockdown in phases are coming under political attacks from their respective oppositions.

The argument of those in favor of the extension of lockdown often suggests “There are greater chances of more deaths without a lockdown.” To answer them bluntly, don’t more people die every day from road accidents? Do people stop driving because of that? To prevent road accidents, we enact laws and educate people on how to prevent accidents. We do need to ease the lockdown, in phases. Because if we do not, many people may perish of hunger and otherwise suffer.

Many countries do not have social security systems. At best they have Public Distribution Systems (PDS.) Often, these PDS are inadequate and mired with corruption. To run PDS, a government needs money, which can solely come from taxpayers. For taxpayers to ante up their taxes, they need to work. And obviously a lockdown hinders this greatly. Not everyone can work from home on their computers. Farmers need to cultivate their fields, grocers need to open their stores, mechanics need to open their shops… The initial lockdown was certainly a good idea. But it can become detrimental in the long run. To ascertain the credibility of this statement you only need to go back a hundred years in history.

Many nations do not have social security systems. At best they have Public Distribution Systems (PDS.) Often, these PDS are inadequate and mired with corruption. To run PDS, a government needs money, which can only come from taxpayers. For taxpayers to pay their taxes, they need to work. And obviously a lockdown hinders this greatly. Not everyone can work from home on their computers. Farmers need to work their fields, grocers need to open their stores, mechanics need to open their shops… The initial lockdown was certainly a good idea. But it can become detrimental in the long run. To ascertain the credibility of this statement you only need to go back a hundred years in history.

In 1919, the world was gripped by a lethal pandemic called the Spanish Flu. Owing to many deaths, governments took two extended lockdowns. Yet, as a side effect these crippled many lives destroyed businesses and devastated families. Now, you may suggest that “did we not come out from there a long way?” We certainly did. But it was at a great cost that may not have been entirely necessary.

In the United States, it led recession towards the infamous The Great Depression, it also led to two world wars and the collapse of many governments. It took decades and over two generations for the world to reach here.

It was a different world then. The economies were not interconnected as they are today. The world was not armed with nuclear and other sophisticated weapons. So should the economies collapse today, we can be certain of something more dangerous. It is the power of economics, which makes nations stay away from warmongering. If economies are collapsing, there may be anarchy of the worst type. Everything we have built for over a hundred years could be wiped out.

More than 80% of the world population are without significant financial savings. These poor need to work every day to put food on their tables. A lockdown hurts them the most. If we are to extend the lockdown they may be forced to move out of their home in the streets. Lack of tax revenues will cripple the government, which will mean more corruption across the government offices. Abuse of power will likely be rampant. Economic growth will become negative. As many as seventy percents of employed people will lose their jobs. Children will be forced out of schools, families will reel under financial pressure, suicides, and crime will become rampant. There could be a catastrophe greater than the pandemic.

More than 80% of the world population are without significant financial savings. These poor need to work every day to put food on their tables. A lockdown hurts them the most. If we are to extend the lockdown they may be forced to move out of their home in the streets. Lack of tax revenues will cripple the government, which will mean more corruption across the government offices. Abuse of power will likely be rampant. Economic growth will become negative. As many as seventy percents of employed people will lose their jobs. Children will be forced out of schools, families will reel under financial pressure, suicides, and crime will become rampant. There could be a catastrophe greater than the pandemic.

True, we neither have the vaccination nor the cure. But do note that this pandemic is not as lethal as many pandemics of the past. Those who have died are mainly the elderly and those with prevailing health conditions. This clearly implies that if we keep ourselves safe with social distancing, hygienic lifestyles, and in good spirits there is a significant chance that we could develop the necessary immunity within ourselves.

Let us not underestimate the power of our body’s immune system. A body when in good spirits and in pursuit of productive activity develops greater immunity.

Let us not be swayed by fear. Let us practice caution and pursue our lives as normally as we can. To lock ourselves up from life and nature also weakens our immunity. It can only be a short term measure. What we can do is put those suffering from symptoms under special care or lock down. In the meantime, we need to strengthen the immunity of the general population by allowing them to lead healthy lives, not locked down under fear except as a short term necessity.

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A unique Vedic Management Centre Initiative specially devised to rekindle the lost art and science of Vedic leadership for management, politics, and diplomacy.
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