Under lock and key
It is now more than 10 months since European countries began restricting the movement of various segments of the populace. What started as a localised lockdown of some areas in northern Italy has now become a widespread practice, whereby whole nations are effectively placed under a strange, mostly benign, form of house arrest, as soon as positive test results for SARS-CoV-2 begin to spike.
The full adverse impacts of lockdowns are yet to materialise, but there are already some clear effects that are a cause for considerable concern. A British medical trade journal, The BMJ, published an article in November by a Harvard academic, Itai Bavli, outlining a number of harmful consequences of this form of government public-health intervention. Among them were higher mortality rates during economic downturns within middle- and low-income countries, and socioeconomically vulnerable populations; an increase in psychological and addiction problems among vulnerable groups; and l