COVID-19 lockdown revisionismhttps://www.cmaj.ca/content/195/15/E552
The term lockdown has become a powerful and perverted word in the infodemic about democracies responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lockdown, as used in public discourse, has expanded to include any public health measure, even if it places little to no restriction on social mobility or interaction. For example, a working literature review and meta-analysis on the effects of lockdowns on COVID-19 mortality misleadingly defined lockdowns as the imposition of at least 1 compulsory non-pharmaceutical intervention.1 This working paper therefore conflated mandatory isolation for people with confirmed infections and masking policies with heavy-handed limitations on freedom of movement, and since it gained viral fame, it has helped fuel calls for no more lockdowns. This working paper has been highly critiqued and is less convincing than comparative assessments of health measures, like the Oxford Stringency Index.2,3
Here, we discuss the spread of misinformation on lockdowns and other public health measures, which we refer to as lock-down revisionism, and how this phenomenon has damaged trust in public health initiatives designed to keep people safer.
Anti-lockdown discourse is common on social media, in political rhetoric and in news articles.46 Lockdowns are often framed as a false binary of full lockdown versus no measures. However, democratic governments around the world attempted to strike a complex balance in their implementation of a blend of public health measures to address the threat of COVID-19, which varied as the pandemic and scientific evidence evolved. In some popular discourse, lockdowns have been framed as reckless and unscientific, as junk science, as an excuse to permanently oppress populations, as gaslighting with ever-shifting goalposts and as elements of various outlandish conspiracies.4,7,8 The notion that lockdowns did not work has been internalized by some as a truism. Both paid advertisements about lockdowns and posts on social media have gained widespread engagement.9 In news media, proponents of the Great Barrington Declaration an open letter from 2020 that has been scientifically discredited have vocally disputed public health measures.10
Some dissatisfaction with public health measures could relate to communication errors made by governments and others, and to the messy way in which scientific evidence accrued during the pandemic. Not every measure was implemented ideally in terms of its costs versus benefits. Competing priorities, such as child development versus risk of infection in relation to school closures, created spaces for reasonable disagreement, and also generated fertile ground for doubt and misinformation to develop. Careful audit of missteps and successes could usefully inform more targeted public health measures, if and when they are needed in the future. However, other powerful forces bear great responsibility for fostering lockdown revisionism. The capacity for social media to allow misinformation to be disproportionately amplified;11 the creation in popular media of platforms for and consequent legitimization of individuals who spread misinformation or disinformation, through false balance or otherwise;12 and the manner in which some politicians have generated or associated themselves with misleading rhetoric famously, the convoy that occupied Ottawa in part of 2022 received prominent political support for its anti-lockdown messaging are examples of such forces.
I correct the word "lockdown" in reference to Covid everytime I hear it.
And Monday morning QBing is another thing people don't seem to get. In 2020 when Covid hit, we knew very little about it, for all the authorities knew it was going to kill half the country. As we learned more about it, we tailored rules around it. the more we learned, the more those rules evolved. And as conditioned changed, we were able to get back to normal. But none of that means we were wrong to institute severe restrictions at the start.
We had to stop the spread as best we knew how at the time, so limiting person to person contact was the only way, even for children.
All these restrictions were the corrext thing to do, even f Covid would have turned out to be much less harmless than it was, those restrictions in the first year were correct.