The new strain is the delta virus. This strain seems to be more contagious and more powerful. Bloomberg just recently noted that according studies conducted in Israel, the Pfizer vaccine is only 40% effective against the delta virus. That is important to point out as the current refrain and statements that come out of the White House today is that “just get the vaccine and you’ll be fully protected.” That is almost a word for word statement from President Biden at a recent event with Don Lemon.
But of course, more reports come out each day individuals who have gotten the vaccine are seeing infections of Covid-19. Recent reports also indicate that vaccinated people are dying from this new strain of the virus. But the point here is not about the efficacy of vaccines, it is to find out if the United States will go back to lockdowns.
The United States going back into a lockdown would be a very difficult situation for many people. Just as many people were finding themselves going back to work and earning regularly to support themselves and their families, another lockdown would be another huge blow. It would impact mental health, relationships, and household economies. The regular reports coming out about the delta variant and COVID-19 increasing in some areas are another reason why it is necessary to look at the possibility of the United States stepping back into lockdowns, a rash policy decision that didn’t work out so well in the past.
Let’s take a look.
Other Nations Have Gone Into Lockdown
The first point to look at is what other nations are doing. We know that Australians are angry because of almost half of them are under lockdown. They are in a “house arrest” type of situation. At the present moment, 13 million people in Australia are under lockdown! South Australia, Victoria, and portions of NSW must restrict their movements. People in Australia are not happy with the current state of affairs, they are looking at other nations that are forging forward and shifting over to policies of “let’s live with COVID-19” as it shifts from a pandemic to an endemic.
But Australia is not the only country that is under lockdown.
Asia Under Lockdown
Countries in Asia are also under lockdown. South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam have either proposed plans to implement more stringent measures to slow the spread. These countries do note the current outbreaks are far from those levels that were seen last year in places like Europe and the United States. But these countries are a little startled because of the sudden jump in cases. As such, Bangkok has closed down spas and similar type of businesses. They have lowered the hours of transit time and are minimizing store hours. While this isn’t a fully blown lockdown, it is headed in that direction.
While South Korea has seen more cases in recent weeks, deaths have been low. South Korea has not gone into lockdown as the government wants to make sure that the economy recovers and moves forward. It knows that social unrest and more unemployed individuals would not be good for it over the long term. Seoul, has implemented more restrictions on gatherings, events, and has restricted churches and closed down nightclubs.
Indonesia has only imposed partial lockdowns while Malaysia also has implemented lockdowns. Meanwhile, Vietnam has only imposed lockdowns in a major city.
As you can see, we are not witnessing nation lockdowns but are instead noticing selective lockdowns in these countries. It is important to note that while China was the originator, it was the first to exit the lockdown in January 2020 and has been widely open since. Russia has not expressed desires to go back to lockdowns.
According to a recent report, “Putin said he hoped the country would avoid a nationwide lockdown in response to the spike in cases and would not impose mandatory vaccinations, even though Russia currently has one of the lowest rates of vaccinations among major industrial nations.” Another notes, “Nobody wants any lockdowns, and yes, it is not up for debate,” noted Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov. “It is not being discussed.”
This is the case for Germany, France, and others as well.
It seems unlikely that the United States will head back into lockdowns. The government would have be responsible for another series of stimulus bills and spending. While that may seem compelling from one angle, restricting shipping, shopping, and other elements may contribute more to inflation. People are already restless in the United States and we saw various manifestations of rage, anger, and protests during extremely restrictive and moderate lockdowns in the United States. While another series of stimulus bills due to a lockdown may grant the United States government more power, it would be a big gamble as more people are already frustrated with the past year. The midterms are on the way and Democrats may not want to impose more restrictions that could tip votes over into the other direction.
Meanwhile, states within the United States are still forging forward, opening, cutting out federal benefits and encouraging people to go back to work.