Image courtesy of Anatasiia Chepinska on Unsplash
By Allison G. S. Knox
In March of 2020, the general public experienced the true meaning of a pandemic with COVID-19 lockdowns and infection rates that rose daily. Hospitals and healthcare providers worked hard to manage the massive influx of COVID-19 patients.
The advice about controlling the COVID-19 pandemic was to wait until the number of new cases dropped and then everything could be reopened once again. As more individuals got vaccinated, the numbers dwindled down and it looked like everything would be all right. However, the Delta variant has sparked new health concerns, and elected officials may need to rethink whether another lockdown is necessary.
Financial Resources for Managing COVID-19 Cases
As with the last lockdown, financial resources are tight for managing the influx of COVID-19 patients. The Delta variant is even more contagious than the original COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2, which means that the U.S. public health infrastructure will need more resources than ever before to properly control and reduce COVID-19 cases. Numerous agencies in emergency medical services, for example, report that they are having extreme difficulty in managing the COVID-19 patients they receive.
If resources continue to dwindle, it will become even harder to bring COVID-19 under control. Some agencies argue that perhaps we need to expand our budgets to contain the COVID-10 pandemic.
But as we have learned in numerous instances of emergency management mitigation, throwing money at a situation does not always improve it. We need to develop a better infrastructure to manage resources and patient care.
Rethinking Lessons Learned from the First Lockdown
As we watch the surge of COVID-19 patients increase throughout the United States, it is wise to gather as much information as we can from the lessons we learned during the last lockdown. We can then develop new strategies and avoid the worst of a new public health disaster.
Local organizations need to think about what worked and didn’t work with the first lockdown. They need to think about what lessons they learned, develop a stronger infrastructure and put more systems in place to properly manage a second lockdown.
Do We Need Another Lockdown?
Initially, we needed a lockdown with the first outbreak of COVID-19 because the public health crisis needed immediate containment. This lockdown was very difficult for some people because many Americans felt that their rights were impacted.
However, from a strict resource standpoint, the lockdown helped to contain the pandemic and reduce the number of infections. The lockdown also assisted in maintaining the finite resources the country has at every level of government – local, state and national.
As COVID-19 cases continue to climb, a new lockdown may be warranted to achieve true herd immunity. It will be an uphill battle, however, as many members of the public will want to fight against having their freedom restricted for a second time. Politicians and health officials will have to educate the general public and convince people of the need for another lockdown.
Community Resilience Will Be Vital in Another Lockdown
If another lockdown is necessary, we need to create more social systems and networks to support it. Community resilience will play an important role in resource management, especially at the local level, to enable communities to bounce back during a major health crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Now is the time for community leaders to start discussions and begin contemplating how they can create support systems for their communities.