How can we avoid another lockdown? This is the question on most minds. The prevailing sentiment seems to be its inevitable, but we should learn from the past and not make this same mistake.
Maryland was in a lockdown for much of the spring, despite what Gov. Larry Hogan maintained at a press conference last Thursday. When asked if the state was looking at another lockdown, Hogan seemed to blunder.
“I don’t know what the definition of a lockdown is, we never really had a lockdown. We didn’t even have a stay-at-home order, we had stay-at-home advisories, we kept 70% of our economy open the entire time. But might we have to take more restrictive actions over the coming, you know, weeks or months? Absolutely. We might,” Hogan said.
The reality is Hogan did impose a lockdown in Maryland through an official stay-at-home order. Hogan said in late March, “This is a deadly public health crisis — we are no longer asking or suggesting that Marylanders stay home, we are directing them to do so. No Maryland resident should be leaving their home unless it is for an essential job or for an essential reason such as obtaining food or medicine, seeking urgent medical attention, or for other necessary purposes.”
It’s important for Hogan to remember his spring lockdown in late March did not immediately help with the spread of the virus. There were a variety of factors that led to the downturn in cases, not the least of which was the warming weather and more mask wearing.
With each looming press conference, the concern is what hammer will Hogan bring down this time. Will this be when Hogan rolls back further restrictions and mandates we stay at home again? There are veiled threats to either comply with the more restrictive measures or more will be coming. In a video briefing with state lawmakers Wednesday, Maryland Health Secretary Robert R. Neall said, “If you want to avoid a lockdown — and a lot of states are headed that way — wear a mask, keep your distance, wash your hands, you get a call from contact tracing, answer it and give them the information they require,” according to The Baltimore Sun.
We could do without all the threats and tough talk. It’s unproductive at this point. Those who understand the severity of the virus are already heeding recommendations. Those who don’t believe in the virus and think it’s a hoax will view the ever-changing restrictions with haste and anger. The pandemic is a divisive issue and at the heart of the debate for many remains government’s infringement on individual rights and economic survivability.
Though an argument could be made government is stripping the fundamental rights of its citizens with these mandated orders, the greater point here is the economics of these lockdowns weighed against the health benefits.
We all need to remain vigilant and make the necessary sacrifices to reduce the spread of the virus. We must be disciplined and refrain from giving in to this inevitable malaise over the pandemic. However, a government-ordered lockdown or stay-at-home order accomplishes little outside of causing economic devastation to many businesses and households. The financial consequences from the spring lockdown remain real today. Shutting communities down this fall and winter will only make 2021 more like 2020, a year many are just hopeful to overcome and survive, not thrive.