Today, January 23rd, is the day, in 2020, when the world changed as China first implemented in Wuhan the novel public health policy that has come to define the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously regarded as impossible, ineffective and far too harmful to be ethically acceptable, humanity now faces the prospect of lockdowns as a constant threat in the face of future outbreaks of contagious disease.
Initially in 2020 seen as something distinctively Chinese in its authoritarian harshness, within days the World Health Organisation had cast aside its own pandemic rulebook and held the Chinese response up as a model to the world. When Italy and then other countries followed suit in the ensuing weeks it was with the full backing and support of the WHO. Very soon, it became those few countries, like Sweden and the U.K., who refused to implement this novel and unscientific intervention who were regarded as irresponsible outliers. Almost all would fall in line.
Somehow, in the coming months and years, the damage done to humanity through acceptance of this vastly disproportionate and ineffective response to contagious disease needs to be undone and lockdown as a public health intervention consigned to history.