(Natural News) The Eastern European country of Belarus did not implement draconian Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdowns. However, recorded COVID-19 deaths in Belarus are similar to its neighbors who chose to lock down their societies to curb the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Belarus’s example showed that lockdown mandates caused more harm to populations than the disease they aim to address.
COVID-19 mortality statistics from Belarusian authorities from the start of the pandemic until March 2021 pointed out this trend. The country’s COVID-19 death rate showed similarities with its neighbors Latvia, Russia and Ukraine that ordered full lockdowns. Incidentally, Belarus had a significantly lower mortality rate in March 2021 compared to Poland, which imposed a particularly harsh lockdown.
The dismissive attitude of Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko toward COVID-19 also played a role in the country refusing to impose a lockdown. Back in March, he challenged a journalist to find any viruses “flying around” in a crowded arena. A month later, he blamed chronic diseases instead of COVID-19 for deaths in the country’s Mogilev region. Lukashenko recently stepped up his rhetoric, dubbing the dangers of SARS-CoV-2 as a “psychosis.”
Mainstream media outlets criticized Belarus’s worry-free approach and its refusal to impose lockdown. One headline described Lukashenko as “hell-bent on turning COVID-19 into a catastrophe for his country.” While the consequences of Belarus’s decision to not lock down the country was far from a “catastrophe,” it managed to dodge a bullet by avoiding the negative effects of lockdown mandates.
Belarus is the same as Sweden, which saw less than 15,000 deaths from COVID-19 despite the absence of a lockdown. It is worth noting, however, that individual Belarusians themselves voluntarily adjusted their behaviors – such as switching to remote work, avoiding too much time outside and wearing face masks when in public. Some bars and restaurants have closed on their own despite Lukashenko not issuing any order for them to close.
A lockdown will further cripple Belarus’s already weakened economy
Belarus does not have any emergency funds for unemployment benefits, which means that there would be little financial aid in case of a lockdown. This adds to the country’s extremely low unemployment benefits of less than $23 per month. Lev Lvovskiy, senior research fellow at the Belarusian think thank BEROC, says: “A proper lockdown would mean that thousands of people would lose their salaries.” (Related: Coronavirus recession will hurt low-income and emerging market economies for years.)
Because of this issue, Lukashenko has insisted that the economy should run without interruption. “We are in a more complicated situation than Russia. We do not have such a safety net. Other post-Soviet countries either usually have some savings for emergencies like Kazakhstan or Russia, or some can borrow [money from other countries] are a better rate such as Ukraine,” he said.
Regardless of Belarus’s economic status, the country would have ended up worse if it chose to implement a lockdown mandate. Will Jones of the Daily Sceptic noted that cases and deaths tend to fall in waves whether a lockdown is imposed or not. He also pointed out that while few trust Belarus’s official COVID-19 case counts, its overall death statistics are “generally thought to be reliable.”
Jones wrote: “Alongside places like South Dakota, Florida, Sweden and Tanzania, Belarus is an important illustration of what can be expected from COVID-19 when restrictions aren’t imposed. Like those places, we see that the outcome is basically the same as similar places when restrictions aren’t imposed.”
Furthermore, Jones wrote in his Daily Sceptic piece that “even without lockdowns and vaccines, the epidemic is self-limiting and comes to an end at around the same point – having infected a similar number of people. Until our leaders and their advisers grasp this crucial fact about COVID-19, they will keep pursuing pointless and ineffective but deeply harmful policies. (Related: Lockdowns BACKFIRE: Areas with most aggressive covid lockdowns saw highest infection numbers.)
Pandemic.news has more articles about lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19.