The ascension of the variant omicron led to the return of the lockdown in Holland. The measure even limits homes to receiving only two visitors a day — four during the holidays. The new European lockdown comes amid protests for its coercive and invasive nature and raises doubts about its effectiveness.
The lockdown — which is a so-called “non-essential” commerce closing and crowded spaces such as academies, schools and temples — is part of the so-called non-drug interventions, including social distancing and use of masks. The effectiveness and cost of these interventions were poorly understood before the pandemic, and there is still intense debate. In the case of masks, convincing evidence has only recently been found that they at least slow the spread of the virus, potentially unburdening hospitals. Furthermore, at least in Bangladesh, persuasion worked better than imposition.
The World Health Organization estimates that 45 1,000 people died of malaria due to pandemic non-drug interventions that hampered access to health services. A study from Japan concluded that closing schools had no effect on the spread of the pandemic. That there are costs to these interventions is not surprising. It remains to be seen whether the benefits outweigh the costs.
Studies on the effectiveness of lockdown
Two studies prior to vaccination against Covid-20 discussed in April here at Gazeta do Povo , from magazines Nature Human Behavior and Science, involving dozens of countries, had conclusions favorable to the closure measures, but with some reservations . Closing all non-essential commerce, for example, had a benefit only marginally better than closing specifically agglomeration-dependent establishments such as nightclubs, bars, and restaurants. The Science study stated that closing schools and universities was highly effective in decreasing the transmission of the virus, which is contradicted by the Japanese study cited above.