Let’s think again about lockdowns and their widespread impact.
After one couple caused 500,000 people in the wider Wellington region to be in level 2 lockdown for a week, it is time to ask “are lockdowns the best response to Covid?”
The initial concept of flattening the curve to avoid overloading our hospitals 15 months ago, quickly mutated into “stop the virus”. New Zealand has however been very fortunate. This is despite a slow initial response, holes in MIQ, failures with border workers, slow update of a cumbersome tracing system and even slower roll out of vaccinations. We have had very few cases with fortunately only 26 Covid reported deaths. The definition of pandemic no longer fits our current situation.
However, people have suggested that Covid and its variants will be with us for 3 or 5 or even 10 years, maybe forever. So each time we get a case in the community, are we going to lockdown to level 2 or 3 or even level 4? Are we going to continue to close businesses and restrict travel and meeting together?
With any medicine that is prescribed, there are always side effects. We make a decision on whether or not the risk of these side effects are worth the potential benefits from the prescription. For Covid, the only ongoing prescription we have is lockdown. Its negative side effects are fear, loneliness, economic loss, depression and more. On an ongoing basis, these effects seem worse than the disease we are trying to attack.
We should move back to the idea of flattening the curve rather than completely stopping the virus. This would allow most people to live life as usual.
New Conservative believes New Zealand should rethink its covid response. We should focus on bringing our contact tracing up to world class standard and isolate infected people but not the whole population. We should build our intensive care response capability to more than the 334 ventilators we have in the country (as at 29/04/20). We should build dedicated isolation centres instead of relying on hotels which are not designed for separating people. And we should get on with life!
Bruce Welsh, New Conservative Board Member