Going back to level five would ruin our economy and do more harm than the coronavirus, says the writer. File Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)
Going back to level five would ruin our economy and do more harm than the coronavirus, says the writer. File Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Letter: More people dying from effects of lockdown than Covid-19

Time of article published Oct 27, 2020

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By Ellapen Rapiti

Another lockdown would be economic suicide. Are we mad to want to go back to level five?

Going back to level five would ruin our economy and do more harm than the coronavirus.

I listened to a web presentation by Professor Nathi Mdladla, the head of ICU who is in charge of anaesthesiology. What he said was mind-boggling.

He said the government went overboard in the way it restricted the economy. South Africa was not as badly affected as Europe, so there was no need to apply the West and Europe’s stringent laws.

Our country, with an official unemployment rate of 30% and more than 60% in the struggling informal sector, cannot lock down and support the economy. Germany, which has an unemployment rate of 3.8% and a gross domestic product eight times more than South Africa’s, can afford to shut down the economy and pay its citizens a reasonable income. So can America and Canada. We can’t.

Politicians have too much say in the matter, yet they lack sound scientific and economic knowledge to understand the impact of a total shutdown. More people are dying from the effects of the lockdown than from the virus. More small businesses will close, crime will escalate, we will witness the return of the army’s brutality on innocent citizens, and the price of sanitisers and masks will go up. Abuse of the tender system for personal protective equipment will return.

Many of the ways the virus is spread, the professor says, is based on speculation. His argument is that about 200 people die of Asia-related diseases every day in this country, but we don’t shut down the economy. Why are we doing so for the coronavirus when more than 95% recover?

Companies offer to sanitise your rooms for a hefty price. Soon after they leave, a stranger can come in and infect the place by coughing. The money could rather be used to feed the hungry.

The says aerosols and and sprays are far less dangerous than coughing.

He is not suggesting, and I agree with him, we must avoid sanitising, wearing masks and physical distancing, but we should not go into overkill and destroy the economy and our citizens through starvation. We will never recover from another lockdown.

The government failed its citizens when it came to paying out grants and UIF. Yet if you are late with UIF contributions, you are penalised.

I hope they do not do the ludicrous thing and ban cigarettes. Please Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, cool it.

We need cool and logical minds to decide on the right direction. We cannot make our decisions based on speculation and guesswork.

The Star

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