The news today was mixed. The UK’s envoy to the World Health Organisation (W.H.O.) has condemned mass coronavirus lockdowns, slamming the “ghastly global catastrophe” caused by crashing the world economy.
Dr. David Nabarro from the W.H.O. appealed to world leaders on Saturday, telling them to stop “using lockdowns as your primary control method” of the coronavirus.
He claimed that the only thing lockdowns achieved was poverty – with no mention of the potential lives saved. This is the exact reverse of what we have been hearing, only lives saved counts, not the collateral damage to everyone else’s health and well being.
In Israel, regardless of this news, the lockdown is being extended instead of ended.
News 12 presenter Keren Marciano on Saturday night revealed the government’s plan for a staggered ending to the countrywide lockdown:
Oct. 18: Opening of kindergartens, both government-run and in the private sector
Nov. 1: Opening of grades 1-4
Nov. 15: Opening of mall stores and gyms
Nov. 29: Opening of restaurants and cafes
Dec. 13: Opening of hotels and B&Bs
Dec. 27: Opening of leisure and culture centers as well as museums
Jan. 10: Opening of 5th-12th grades
Where is the compassion for those whose health has deteriorated—in some cases permanently–because they could not see their heart doctor, physiotherapist, podiatrist, chiropractor, osteopath, or registered massage therapist? Where is the compassion for those now dead from suicides caused by the many destructive impacts of the lockdown?
Where is the compassion for the immigrant who spent years—even decades—working 60-hour weeks to run his restaurant or dry-cleaning business, and who now faces bankruptcy?
Where is the compassion for the millions thrown out of work, many of whom won’t have a job to return to even when (or if?) politicians end the lockdown? Where is the compassion for store and restaurant workers who were suddenly robbed of their ability to pay for rent and groceries, and for the factory workers who can’t make ends meet?
Where is the compassion for the recovering alcoholic, who was doing well until he lost his job and was forced into isolation, cut off from the effective support that only in-person meetings can provide?
Where is the compassion for the 40-year-old man who was not even aware, prior to the lockdown destroying his job, that he derives so much of his sense of self-worth and significance from supporting his wife, son, and daughter? Where is the compassion for his wife, who now spends all day with an increasingly angry and depressed husband, who will not be able to return to work because his job no longer exists? Where is the compassion for their son and daughter, frightened into the false belief that playing with their friends is a dangerous and even deadly activity?
Where is the compassion for our children and grandchildren, who will be forced to spend their entire adult lives paying off hundreds of billions of dollars of government debt? We can’t all live on the government doll forever. The Pied Piper will eventually have to be paid. Where is the compassion for children who, without a credible scientific or medical basis, have been deprived of performing in their school play; competing in the swim meet they had been training so hard for; proudly showing off their talents to mom and dad at a dance or music recital; receiving their awards at a graduation ceremony, and enjoying summer camps?
Compassion is a good and wonderful thing, which can motivate us to take decisive action and to endure suffering for a good cause. However, to be useful and effective, compassion cannot be divorced from the need to think deeply and carefully about both the pros and the cons of everything we do. Divorced from facts, reality, and reason, compassion can lead to actions that do more harm than good. Harming people through lockdown measures, even if done in the name of compassion, is still harming people.
In every situation of the unknown, there will be people that come up with conspiracy theories that say, various people are at cause. There is an old line that says if you think the whole world is out to get you, you are paranoid. If they really are chasing after you, you are in reality. Objecting to the Shutdowns does not make you crazy or uncompassionate for those suffering from Covid. It is a reality that people are suffering, and as UN Envoy Dr. David Nabarro says other alternatives must be explored.