Similar to many if not most other European countries the Austria government decided to place its population under another lockdown beginning November 3, 2020, lockdown no. 2 in 2020. If the first lockdown was justified is debatable. What is not debatable is the enforcement of lockdown 2 and 3 (which is said to begin Dec 26, 2020), for various reasons.
For one, lockdown 1 has been ruled by the Austria courts as illegal. For example being prohibited of the right to enter large shops, stores (over 400 m²; forced lockdown of certain businesses) as well as being prohibited to enter parks and public places were ruled by the highest Austrian courts as a violation of the law (Anwälte klären auf, VfgH).
Two, plenty of research on the effects of the first lockdown in spring of 2020 are available and have been published not only on the failing success rate of lockdowns but also on the unintended adverse social, economic and health effects of a lockdown. Research databases are filled with scientific studies showing the detrimental effects of lockdown on mental health and depression, spousal and child abuse, learning outcome, suicide rates, addiction, financial hardship and poverty, and increasing non-CoVid-19 related illnesses (for exp. stroke, cancer), to just name a few.
And three, the courts, particularly the higher courts, are said to have based their final decisions for or against the legality of certain lockdowns measures on empty files, arbitrarily without following rules and law. So, for example, the justification of banning outdoor group workouts is not given by governments, in spite of the lack of existence of scientific research showing any heightened infection risk for CoVid-19. This apparently not only takes place in Austria but also in Germany and in the Netherlands.
While many decisions in lockdown 1 might have been rushed and the effects were unintended, given our knowledge now we can no longer speak of unintended adverse effects, we can no longer accept unlawful measures imposed by the government. Particularly, since these horrendous developments don’t stop governments from issuing a second and even third lockdown in 2020, with further anticipated in 2021.
Now I wonder, why oh why do our governments continue to impose such drastic measures (lockdown) knowing the effects these lockdowns have on health and society? Does the aim to slow down the spread of a virus, a virus that for most of us will be harmless, truly justify the harm created to health, well-being and our economy, for generation to come?
Isn’t, shouldn’t be their primary aim to protect the population from harm? Governments seem to argue that lockdowns are to protect the elderly. They continuously defend their lockdown decisions with the argument that it’s to protect the ones at high risk as well as to reduce ICU admissions, hence overburdening the hospital sector. But is this true? Are our ICU beds truly overloaded with patients ill with severe CoVid symptoms? Are our elderly, over the age of 85, truly protected with the lockdown?
How do we know when we are presented with only one type of data: number of infections and number of deaths?
Shall we assume that in order to create fear and thus gain control we are presented with daily numbers of infections – daily USELESS numbers?
Number of CoVid-19 infections doesn’t, I repeat does NOT tell us anything about the infectiousness of a person. It doesn’t say if a person carries a heavy enough load of a virus to infect others. Most people who test positive don’t show any symptoms (or if, then only mild, flu like ones) and lastly, test results aren’t 100% correct. Now, if our government would be interested in sharing appropriate information with us, wouldn’t you think they’d highlight all these aspects? Wouldn’t they tell us how many CoVid-19 positive people don’t show symptoms, how many CoVid-19 people only present a sniffle? Shall we assume that in order to create fear and thus gain control we are presented with daily numbers of infections – daily USELESS numbers? Now, is this something you expect from a democratic government, a government who should have the health of all people in mind?
Numbers of death are over-exaggerated to turn the virus into something that it’s not: A lethal, deadly virus killing everyone!
The numbers of deaths, too, don’t represent the truth. People who, unfortunately, die more often than not don’t die of only CoVid-19. Many of the elderly have many other diseases. Most likely, any flu or cold would kill them. Others die of other causes. For example, someone who dies of a motorcycle accident or heart attack will be marked as CoVid-19 death if a PCR test at the hospital comes back positive. Hence, numbers are over-exaggerated to turn the virus into something that it’s not: A lethal, deadly virus killing everyone!
In a democracy, which we, so I thought, live in is it not the responsibility of the government to protect all people, to assure their health and well-being, to be transparent? Clearly, this isn’t what government are doing in 2020. They aren’t protecting all people, they might not protect anyone! The great majority of people, to many of whom CoVid-19 is NOT a threat, either suffer under lockdown or develop unhealthy behaviours. For many, the effects of lockdown on mental health, health behaviour and health in general will not become apparent right away, others are feeling the pain. Are we protected?
Is society’s suffering due to an inappropriate CoVid-19 strategy (lockdown) justified and can it be rectified?
Many countries, including Austria, continue to choose a lockdown as their first line of defence against CoVid-19 without providing any explanations for their decision making, worse, without listening to their experts and advisors, many of whom advise against the lockdown as imposed on us currently.
I ask you, oughtn’t there to be transparency in decision making? After all, we live in a democracy. Doesn’t in a democracy the government work on behalf of all people? Shouldn’t we understand what’s truly happening? Certainly not under CoVid-19; that’s becoming apparent.
This CoVid experience, the illegality of lockdowns, the closing of certain business sectors, the empty files in court cases shows what type of government is running a country and where their priorities are. In Austria and Germany they seem set on total control and power.
Total control in what they say goes.
Total power in I will get you to do what I want, I’ll revert to punishments to get you to comply.
It’s devastating and a cruel awakening when a government, particularly in times of CoVid-19, doesn’t need to provide the basis for their decision making. Instead of collaborating with a variety of experts of different backgrounds, in order to find a suitable, best solution for all, they go their own way and pose restrictions as they please without being held accountable for the damages and costs created.
One can argue that CoVid-19, the threat of CoVid-19, calls for rapid interventions. Yet, I ask, what carries a higher burden to the masses, the threat of developing severe symptoms to CoVid-19 or the effects of lockdown? More, who is at risk, to whom poses CoVid-19 truly a threat?
At risk to develop severe symptoms and possible end up in ICU are the people over 85, the people of ill health and the people with certain health issues, such as heart and lung disease or impaired immune response, due to, for example, cancer. It also poses a risk to people who for the last years might not have put their health a priority, sadly.
At almost no risk, asymptomatic or with perhaps mild flu like symptoms are children, young people, the majority of overall healthy people under the age of 85.
With the majority of the population not at risk of developing severe symptoms is a lockdown for everyone (!) truly the correct intervention, given the many “unintended although well-known” effects on health, well-being, and society?
I ask again, what facts is this intervention (lockdown) based on?
What are the reasons governments decide for this drastic, draconian measure that creates so much harm, misery and struggle, especially since it’s arguable if lockdowns truly protect the elderly and high risk groups and lockdowns violate human rights?
I have yet to see research that justifies lockdowns for all the costs incurred. I have yet to understand why we are locking up the masses to protect (a smaller) high risk group and the elderly over the age of 85 who have not only reached their life expectancy but also who’d die naturally within a year or two. Why don’t we ask these people how they’d like to live their last year(s), give them a voice before everyone else, the next generation, for the next yearS will have to suffer? Why don’t we create round tables with experts of different areas as well as include high risk groups to find a viable solution to protect them?
There isn’t any transparency in decision making to explain the harm created to the majority of people. Worse, harmful measures aren’t rectified in light of new research. They rather seem considered an acceptable cost to reach the goal. But, what is the ultimate goal? It’s not health of a nation; it’s not health of the population. Instead, governments make use of their complete control and power. By now, understandably so, many argue that it’s no longer about CoVid-19.
Two things become clear to me: democracy has failed, trust in governments is lost. A representative democracy entails governments that are both responsive and responsible. Given the damages that have been done, the lack of transparency, the forceful nature of measures it’s become clear that many European governments, including the Austrian government, have neither responded responsible nor responsive to latest CoVid-19 developments, given scientific facts.
More importantly, what can be done to create a political future and leadership which is not focused on control and power but rather on the health and well-being of a nation? What lessons can be learned and which steps need to be taken now to reduce any further harm?