This Isn’t the Time for Rushing to Reopen the World
Ian Franks
18 Jul

This pandemic hasn't finished with us just yet. Image by Anna Shvets via Pexels.

Countries around the world have rushed to ease restrictions and warmly embrace the ‘new normal’, as the worst of COVID-19 seems to pass - but it appears they haven’t considered the reality of the consequences.

No sooner had the political leaders announced their plans to reopen, we saw packed beaches and a complete breakdown of social distancing.

Of course, different nations developed their own responses to fight the pandemic, with varying success, and nowhere is a better example of that than the U.S., where all 50 states have a constitutional public health responsibility.

There were notable differences in approaches. Some governors were swift to issue stay-at-home and lockdown orders, while others moved more slowly.

It’s now clear that the governors who dragged their feet displayed an appalling reluctance to grasp the truth - the scale - of the threat they were facing.

But, with numbers of cases beginning to fall in some states, and elsewhere in the world, civil authorities - even those who got it right to start with - are looking forward to ending what some people regard as a breach of human rights and civil liberties.

Now, they have been hit by severe spikes in confirmed cases that were long predicted by scientists and health professionals, who gave dire warnings about a second wave of infections being fed by an early relaxation of restrictions.

Some U.S. states, including Florida and Texas, have started to reverse this reopening, while there have been localised shutdowns in parts of the U.K., Spain, Australia and China, as hotspots and clusters begin to appear.

In Australia, the city of Melbourne is under strict lockdown amid fears that a major outbreak there could be the forerunner of a second wave.

All in all, the sad commonality in these states and countries is that they began their programme of easing restrictions to soon.

Despite President Donald Trump's attempts to ignore the pandemic, it isn't something the public can afford to forget about. Official White House photo by Tia Dufour.

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Their leaders, including President Donald Trump and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, seemed to think that fewer new cases per day meant the danger was over. But it isn’t.

The coronavirus pandemic is far from over and most epidemiologists and public health officials seem to agree.

Indeed, Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during an interview with Stanford Medicine dean Dr Lloyd Minor, said: “We did not shut down entirely […] You’ve got to shut down but then you’ve got to gradually open.”

Wearing a mask has been and still is a cause of consternation. At one time decried as unnecessary by the World Health Organisation and political leaders such as President Trump, today they are seen as an important accessory.

Trump has apparently changed his mind, deciding to wear one, while residents of the U.K. and other European countries must wear them in public, including when shopping.

Compulsory face masks and lockdown restrictions should not be considered an infringement of human rights - we should welcome them out of care and concern for the health and well-being of others.

OPINION
This Isn’t the Time for Rushing to Reopen the World
Ian Franks
18 Jul

This pandemic hasn't finished with us just yet. Image by Anna Shvets via Pexels.

Countries around the world have rushed to ease restrictions and warmly embrace the ‘new normal’, as the worst of COVID-19 seems to pass - but it appears they haven’t considered the reality of the consequences.

No sooner had the political leaders announced their plans to reopen, we saw packed beaches and a complete breakdown of social distancing.

Of course, different nations developed their own responses to fight the pandemic, with varying success, and nowhere is a better example of that than the U.S., where all 50 states have a constitutional public health responsibility.

There were notable differences in approaches. Some governors were swift to issue stay-at-home and lockdown orders, while others moved more slowly.

It’s now clear that the governors who dragged their feet displayed an appalling reluctance to grasp the truth - the scale - of the threat they were facing.

But, with numbers of cases beginning to fall in some states, and elsewhere in the world, civil authorities - even those who got it right to start with - are looking forward to ending what some people regard as a breach of human rights and civil liberties.

Now, they have been hit by severe spikes in confirmed cases that were long predicted by scientists and health professionals, who gave dire warnings about a second wave of infections being fed by an early relaxation of restrictions.

Some U.S. states, including Florida and Texas, have started to reverse this reopening, while there have been localised shutdowns in parts of the U.K., Spain, Australia and China, as hotspots and clusters begin to appear.

In Australia, the city of Melbourne is under strict lockdown amid fears that a major outbreak there could be the forerunner of a second wave.

All in all, the sad commonality in these states and countries is that they began their programme of easing restrictions to soon.

Despite President Donald Trump's attempts to ignore the pandemic, it isn't something the public can afford to forget about. Official White House photo by Tia Dufour.

Get The Locus sent straight to your inbox
Thanks for subscribing to The Locus!
Something went wrong. Sorry about that.

Their leaders, including President Donald Trump and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, seemed to think that fewer new cases per day meant the danger was over. But it isn’t.

The coronavirus pandemic is far from over and most epidemiologists and public health officials seem to agree.

Indeed, Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during an interview with Stanford Medicine dean Dr Lloyd Minor, said: “We did not shut down entirely […] You’ve got to shut down but then you’ve got to gradually open.”

Wearing a mask has been and still is a cause of consternation. At one time decried as unnecessary by the World Health Organisation and political leaders such as President Trump, today they are seen as an important accessory.

Trump has apparently changed his mind, deciding to wear one, while residents of the U.K. and other European countries must wear them in public, including when shopping.

Compulsory face masks and lockdown restrictions should not be considered an infringement of human rights - we should welcome them out of care and concern for the health and well-being of others.

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