Prof Bhattacharya said: “If lockdown was a primary driver of good Covid outcomes Florida would have come out far worse. It is no good to say that it did not have variants – Florida had the Alpha and Delta variant. Lockdowns don’t protect against coronavirus. And they certainly have collateral harm. Children have suffered, especially poor children. Unemployment mental health all the harm is hard to ignore and it is very hard to find any benefit to lockdown measures.”
To this day, many commentators think that coercion is justified in defence of public health. Arguments over ‘vaccine passports’ and obligations to get vaccinated in contracts of employment are already raging. The voluntary principle, however, is a good one. It is what allowed Britain’s vaccination programme to move beyond the controversies of the 1880s, squaring the circle of vaccination and opposition by letting people opt out. Pointedly, the conscientious objection clause over time killed off Britain’s anti-vaccine campaigns by removing the causes célèbres of vaccine martyrdom.
The people in the Philippines are suffering from one of the toughest and longest lockdowns in the world. As the government struggles to deal with the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, the ultra-strict quarantine and social distancing measures which have now stretched to more than half a year, have left the economy on its knees. The move has also left millions of people jobless and hungry. The dire situation has now pushed millions of people to the brink of starvation. Why did the pandemic hit the poorest of poor so hard? With the Philippine economy slipping into its worst recession in decades, can the poor pull themselves out from the crushing poverty? Will their cries for help be heard?