Formerly known exclusively as a prison term, 'lockdown' is now a concept all too familiar to the long-suffering British public. Forbidden from seeing loved ones, isolated from leisure and social pursuits, and forced into multiple other professional and personal sacrifices (whilst many of the ministers who imposed these rules, ignored them, enjoying parties, social gatherings, and even illicit liaisons), lockdown was a hefty price to pay - but might have been worth it, had it delivered on any of its founding promises.
Two years later, the evidence is now in, and it makes for sobering reading.
In short, the harms caused by lockdown far outweighed any beneficial effects it might have had, causing untold damage to the nation's mental health (especially children's), profoundly undermining the economy, and galvanising an increase in lifestyle-related diseases. In addition, tens of thousands of patients with non-Covid-related illnesses were left languishing on waiting lists, with many still awaiting their urgent treatment. Tragically, over 100,000 have died before being seen.
New evidence has revealed starkly that lockdown was almost all cost, and with very little justifying benefit. A new study concluded: "a cost-benefit analysis of the response to COVID-19 finds that lockdowns are far more harmful to public health (at least 5-10 times so in terms of wellbeing years) than COVID-19 can be."
While we may extend some charity to the UK government regarding its lockdown policies of 2020 and 2021, insofar as ministers were acting in response to a new and unprecedented situation, for which they had no real world data on which to base predictions, and so relied on computer modelling instead, it's important to recognise that we do have that data now.
All the evidence and real-world statistics are in, and the evidence is unequivocal: lockdowns do not work, and they in fact make the overall scenario very much worse. If we are to genuinely "follow the science" in the face of future pandemics, then nationwide lockdowns cannot be considered as an option. The toll on public and economic health, especially children's health and young people's prospects, is too immense, and the pay-off too small.
While individual people must always be supported in their right to isolate or limit their social contact if they so choose, this must never be unilaterally imposed on a populace at large who have not consented.
As with all things, informed consent matters.