Should There Be Another Lockdown?

As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the United States, having another lockdown has been discussed. Is it a good idea?

The argument for

Other countries that are experiencing a second wave of corona virus cases are instituting a second lockdown. The UK, for instance, has instituted a tiered system to try and contain further spread of the disease.

Closing non-essential businesses and instituting stay-at-home orders should slow the spread of the virus. Some communities are asking for help asĀ  the number of new infections is at an all-time high.

The argument against

However, there are significant arguments against extreme measures like a lockdown. Local and national economies are already hurting from earlier efforts to contain the virus. Many businesses have already closed for good, and a record number of people have requested unemployment. Another lockdown would exacerbate economic problems, for both employers and employees.

A stay-at-home order also poses additional risks. Mental health difficulties are surging as well, and many people already struggling with loneliness and depression would face greater struggles. People in abusive situations at home would feel even more at risk as well.

It is not clear that a lockdown is even necessary. After being able to learn about the spread of the virus, relatively simple steps like mask wearing and physical distancing can have a large impact. We now know that the virus is spread primarily through droplets in the breath of those infected. Frequent hand-washing also prevents spread.

Moreover, more is known about treatment. The fatality rate of this second surge in cases is leading to a much lower number of deaths than the early infections in the spring. Increased testing and contact tracing have also been implemented in many communities.

However …

… the number of new cases is rising, including in many communities previously spared. Mandatory mask laws are being enacted in some states. A stay-at-home order — even for a few weeks — might disrupt the spread in many of our communities.

More than 230,000 people are dead, with cases and deaths continuing to rise. It seems something needs to be done.

Should there be another lockdown?

Related questions: COVID-19? Mask or no mask? How do you evaluate risk? What advice would you give your pre-lockdown self? Do you know anyone with COVID-19?