“Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer.”~WHO

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, when governments were figuring out how to respond to the virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) offered some recommendations. And among other things, the WHo recommended that governments ensure that lockdowns were in place until the virus was under control. In fact, in April when WHO set out new guidance for ending lockdowns, it asserted that for most countries it was too soon to go back to normal.

However, just recently the organization changed its course, citing all the harmful effects of locking down. In an interview that Dr. David Nabarro, a WHO Covid-19 envoy, had with The Spectator, he pointed out the disproportionate effect that the lockdowns have had on the poor.

“We in the World Health Organization do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus. The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganize, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted, but by and large, we’d rather not do it.

Just look at what’s happened to the tourism industry, for example in the Caribbean or in the Pacific, because people aren’t taking their holidays. Look what’s happened to smallholder farmers all over the world because their markets have got dented. Look what’s happening to poverty levels. It seems that we may well have a doubling of world poverty by next year. Seems that we may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition because children are not getting meals at school and their parents, in poor families, are not able to afford it.

This is a terrible, ghastly global catastrophe, actually. And so we really do appeal to all world leaders: Stop using lockdown as your primary control method, develop better systems for doing it, work together and learn from each other, but remember—lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer.”

I have written quite extensively on how harmful the lockdown has been and continues to be. In our own state of Minnesota, restaurants are on the verge of collapse. And the main reason for that is the fact that they have been crushed by lockdowns. Furthermore, even though restaurants are about to face the woes of winter, which means they cannot do patio dining, they still have capacity limits that require them to serve fewer people than they normally would.

Albeit a little late, it is good that more and more organizations, like WHO, are coming out against the punishing lockdowns. The lockdowns have been devastating to small businesses as well as low-income individuals. People have suffered palpable economic damage due to the shutdown. This damage will take a lot to undo.

Minnesota should fully open up

We can all agree then at this point that the lockdowns have been a disaster. While they should not have been instated in the first place, the worse mistake for the Minnesota government, at this point, will be to continue to drown the ailing businesses in restrictions. It is time that restrictions on the economy are lifted to prevent further and more permanent damage; a lot of people’s livelihoods depend on it.