Sunday, June 14, 2020

The past three months have proved it: the costs of lockdown are too high

Governments now know the economic, social, health and educational costs of full Covid-19 lockdowns scar too deeply.

An empty platform at Tottenham Court Road tube station on the London Underground during what would normally be the evening rush hour. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA

By  Larry Elliott

The past three months have been a global experiment to test whether modern economies built on social interaction are compatible with methods for tackling a pandemic that haven’t moved on much since the Black Death.

The results are now in. Lockdowns are toxic for a world in which people travel to work on buses or commuter trains, spend eight hours with their colleagues at the office, spend their lunch hour doing a bit of shopping, and head off in the evening to the pub, the theatre or the football.

Britain imposed severe restrictions towards the end of March. By the end of April, according to initial estimates by the Office for National Statistics, the economy had shrunk by 25%. If anything, that will prove to be optimistic because of the difficulty in getting data from companies forced to close.  Read more >>