Ending lock down too early can waste the sacrifices the Isle of Man has made so far

Allowing a second wave of Covid-19 by rushing back to normality too early could damage the gains made by containing the spread of the disease in the first place


At the time of writing, the Isle of Man had the world's 12th highest case count of Covid-19 relative to our population size. With twenty one deaths and millions in lost business revenue the Island has been hard hit by the pandemic. After more than three hundred confirmed cases, the spread of the disease appears to have tapered off. The longer the quarantine measures last, the greater the economic and social impact of the outbreak. There is a palpable urge to reopen the economy and get out into the warm summer air.

Whilst we might feel stir crazy, there is a strong argument to be made that ending the quarantine too early could lead to more harm than good. A single case lurking in the population could easily spark off a rapid reinfection and force us back in doors for months to come. Harbin, a city of 10 million in northeastern China, has been forced back into lock down after the disease was imported back into the city by a 22 year old student studying in New York. This has damaged China's recovery and dented their ability to return a sense of normality to the lives of their citizens. Time Magazine notes the grim case study of Japans northern island of Hokkaido in an article published on the 27th of April: "Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido offers a grim lesson in the next phase of the battle against COVID-19. It acted quickly and contained an early outbreak of the coronavirus with a 3-week lockdown. But, when the governor lifted restrictions, a second wave of infections hit even harder. Twenty-six days later, the island was forced back into lockdown." Germany appears to be backing off its lock down after cases there are on the rise again. Globally, here have been numerous cases of an incubation period for the disease lasting longer than the two week quarantine period.


Reinfection


With the number of people that each victim of the disease infects being as high as 5.7 over the period of week, containing the spread again in our tight-knit community might be tough to do. Any unnecessary death is a tragedy, and we should continue to adhere to social distancing until we are certain the danger has passed. If we manage to eliminate the disease within the country and keep the borders as tight as possible, we could have the unique opportunity to return to a sense of normalcy as the world around us battles multiple waves of the disease. A bit of patience could afford us the opportunity to see friends and family and safely continue with our lives in the months to come.

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