BY NEVANJI MADANHIRE
After going through three or so lockdowns, no scientific study has been made to evaluate their effectiveness. This is sad considering the devastating effect these lockdowns have on the economy.
Ideally, a lockdown such as the Level 4 one we are going through now, are supposed to keep people mostly at home by restricting unnecessary movement especially in and out of cities and towns. They are supposed to stop, completely, intercity travel.
People still working from their offices must begin heading home by mid-afternoon so they can be in their homes by 18.30 when the curfew ensues. Going from home to work and back should be done using a public transport system that ensures people are socially distanced and wear their masks properly. All forms of public transport should be disinfected regularly and should provide sanitisers for their passengers.
None of this is happening. A casual stroll round town will reveal that three out of four people going about their business are either not putting on their masks or are putting them on improperly. Even if the law enforcement agents were really diligent and conscientious, they would not cope with the numbers of offenders.
So, what are these lockdowns about?
A scientific study would have shown us how the numbers are playing out. Are less people being infected with Covid-19 because of the lockdowns? Are less people dying now because the country is in Level 4 lockdown? Most importantly, how many people per thousand are really sticking to the letter and spirit of the lockdowns? And, why are people generally going about their business as if there is no lockdown at all?
The scientific study should also look at what’s happening in other countries. Why is it that some countries have ditched the lockdown strategy? The countries that have, argue that the coronavirus is something we will have to live with for a long time to come, therefore there is no need to hide away from it. Indeed, considering how quickly it mutates, it is foolhardy to think that closing business will end it.
Answers based on empirical evidence to these questions are necessary if the government’s strategy to combat the spread of the coronavirus is to be based on scientific information.
Detractors to government strategies argue that the lockdowns have become a political tool used by the ruling party to stop political activity of opposition political parties. This may well be true considering how Zanu PF is going about its business while opposition political parties are forbidden to do the same.
Recent studies in the US have even shown that the concept of herd immunity is a myth that has to be debunked. Herd immunity won’t work when even vaccinated people are getting infected and are spreading the virus.
It’s emerging now that the best weapons against infection are vaccination and the mask; not the lockdown.