Lockdown has been an entirely appropriate precautionary response to a health crisis

Our front page today carried a catch-all report on the latest news on Covid-19, including a doctor who had been drafted to the frontline.
News Letter editorialNews Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

The headline to the report reflected the doctor’s view that lockdown is doing as much harm as good (in fact the medic said “at least as much harm”).

(The story can be read here: ‘Doctors on Covid wards sitting around with nothing to do – whilst NI hospitals are nearly emptied of regular patients’)

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While the sub heading to the print edition to the story made clear that it was one person’s view, we do want to reiterate that it is a single perspective, and not this newspaper’s.

In fact, the overwhelming bulk of our coverage, as well as this editorial column, has for two months reflected the anxieties and concerns about the Covid-19 outbreak and the huge public support not only for our heroic frontline NHS staff but for key workers across society.

The decision to build a Nightingale hospital was entirely appropriate as a precautionary measure. That some of the beds are not being needed is a sign for optimism.

Social distancing has been similarly entirely appropriate, given the way it slashes infection spread. The public at large has complied with it despite occasional disgraceful breaches.

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There is now mounting concern about other health conditions that are not being treated, and even a concern that significant numbers of people are dying because they are avoiding such treatment.

The UK government and local officials are pleading with people not to avoid seeking help, and not to be afraid to come to hospital. We hope that is heeded.

There are also grave concerns about mental illness, domestic violence and economic destruction.

That is why almost all politicians and nations now want to find a safe way out of lockdown. But it must be safe.

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The sense of community goodwill and compliance and conscientiousness in a time of crisis has been uplifting and one that this newspaper strongly embraces.

If it turns out that fewer NHS staff is needed on the frontline than expected, we should be grateful for that and mindful of a community-wide approach that helped achieve it.

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A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

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Alistair Bushe