As France and Germany lock down again – and as Britain considers whether to follow suit – many people will be wondering: can’t we think of a better way to handle this pandemic? No one is in any doubt about the threat posed by the Coronavirus. But nor should there be any doubt about the harm posed by lockdown: the mental health, the economic destitution, the deep damage inflicted on families, communities and societies. Perhaps the worst of it is the idea that, when lockdown ends, the virus resumes – and you are back where you started. Where is the exit strategy? And where is the assessment of the costs?
We should, in moments of crisis, be open to ideas about how best to handle it. The previous strategy – lockdown – cannot claim to have been a great success.