NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 14 July) – A lockdown is not designed to extinguish the virus, but is a measure to contain or slow down its spread, to flatten the curve, so to speak, as not to overrun the healthcare system.
A lockdown is just a temporary measure not a solution to exterminate the virus because only one’s immunity can do it. This immunity is either vaccine-driven or is naturally accorded to the people after a considerable percentage of the population has been infected by the disease (herd immunity). Unfortunately the vaccine and herd immunity are both long in coming.
Lockdown proponents apparently hoped, at the back of their mind, that a vaccine would be discovered after, say, 15, 30 or 45 days of lockdown, and the liberty-limiting measure could thereupon be lifted and everything would return to normal.
In the case of the Philippines, the lockdown has been extended, in decreasing degree of severity, several times; and has already stretched to 120 days long as of 12 July. Although the level of infection remains manageable, the curve has not been flattened by the long imposed measure, and the surge, in fact, has turned threatening as some lockdown restrictions were lifted. And the vaccine is nowhere in the offing.
A lockdown cannot be extended for so long because it will destroy the economy that supports the lives of people and the existence of government. It needs lifting one day.
Its extension of the lockdown with decreasing restrictions is actually the country’s way of opening the lockdown, a kind of soft opening, so to speak. It is hoped that this works in forestalling massive infection that may overrun our healthcare system, while giving a breather to the economy. Whatever, we have to brace ourselves.
In the final analysis, a lockdown could not really protect the people from a calamitous COVID-19 infection but simply delay or postpone its coming. To extend it farther more will not in any way flatten the curve but will instead flatten the economy. The right direction is to forge a measure that would revive the economy with minimum sacrifice of lives.
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.)