Covid-19: Do Lockdowns Work?

Daily Cases in Victoria, Australia as of 29 September 2020

There is a lot of debate at the moment about whether lockdowns are effective in restricting the spread of the COVID-19 Virus. The above graph shows the progress of the Virus in the state of Victoria, Australia, since March 2020. This is the state I live in.

We have had two waves. The first began in March and eased by the end of April. The second began in mid-June, spiked at 686 new confirmed cases on 4th August, and is slowly coming down now. Yesterday, 28th September, we had 10 new confirmed cases (these stats occasionally get adjusted with the addition of new data, but they are generally accurate).

There are very few new cases in other states within Australia. All went into lockdown during the first wave and many still have there borders closed to each other. All states have their borders closed to Victoria and all states, with the exception of Victoria, have so far avoided a second wave.

Victoria has a population of approximately 6.7 million people and the state government conducts around 20,000 COVID tests on average per day. At the beginning of each COVID outbreak, Daniel Andrews, the Premier of Victoria, put the state into a hard lockdown. Recent restrictions in Victoria included:

i) No-one allowed to travel farther than 5kms from their home except for work.

ii) All schools and universities shut down and online learning for students from home.

iii) One person only in a household allowed to travel to buy food and essentials once per day.

iv) No social gatherings outside of a household.

v) Majority of non-essential workers to work from home where possible.

vi) Everyone must wear a mask.

Although these restrictions have eased slightly over the last week, prior to this a breach of any of these restrictions resulted in a fine of between $1000 and $5000.00 AU.

These lockdowns have had a huge impact upon both the Victorian and Australian economy. However, the above graph demonstrates that lockdowns are effective in stopping and suppressing the spread of this disease – and perhaps even eliminating it in the future. It is possible that the economic impact from these lockdowns, although severe in the short term, will actually be less in the long term upon the Australian economy once confidence returns within the population.

I share this information to show that it is possible to control the spread of COVID through lockdowns when a government chooses to make the health of its citizens, rather than that of the economy, its priority.

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