TIM HARFORD: What exactly is a ‘lockdown’?
The most obvious risk of not knowing precisely what it means is that people become too confused and irritated to follow the rules
The headlines tell the story. “Thousands in Madrid to lock down”, “New Covid-19 rules for more parts of North and Midlands”, “Can a ‘circuit break’ halt the second Covid wave?”, “‘Voluntary lockdown’ plea to university’s students” and “Further Covid-19 measures ‘likely’ in London”. That is just one website — the BBC — and all those headlines were displayed simultaneously.
But despite the numerous headlines, it is far from obvious what a “lockdown” is supposed to mean, and the lack of clarity risks making a bad situation worse.