A nurse performs a swab test for Covid-19 in Lenasia, Johannesburg, May 13 2020. Picture: MICHELE SPATARI/AFP
A nurse performs a swab test for Covid-19 in Lenasia, Johannesburg, May 13 2020. Picture: MICHELE SPATARI/AFP

According to Brian Gilbertson, there is simply no evidence of a cause-effect link between lockdowns and social distancing on the one hand, and the number of Covid-19 deaths in the population on the other (“Groupthink madness rules”, July 19). I have no idea what statistics or information the author relied on in making this statement, but it is probably the same as that used by the Trump administration.

The most serious problem the world faces with Covid-19 is its contagious and aggressive nature, and its ability to quickly overwhelm health systems if not timeously contained. Within weeks it can manifest in excess deaths — those in excess of the average expected from all causes — resulting in shortages of medical facilities, supplies and personnel.

Some of the hardest-hit countries include Peru (110% excess deaths), Spain (94%) and Italy (80%). Critics of lockdowns are likely to sing a different tune should a spouse, child or parent suffer an untimely and avoidable death solely because hospitals were full of Covid-19 patients.

The emerging Covid-19 success story of Vietnam holds many lessons for policymakers. This country of almost 100-million people has recorded 384 cases and not a single death. This outcome may be attributed to sound health-care infrastructure, a quick response to the outbreak, border closures, testing, lockdowns, contact tracing, quarantines, clear and consistent communication, and, finally, a strong and unified approach by the whole of society. Compare this to the response to the pandemic by the leaders and people of Brazil and the US and one can begin to make sense of their dire situations.

Blignault Gouws 
Waterkloof Ridge

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