A simple definition of a lockdown is a physical restriction imposed on a person or a group to remain where they are and not able to move or interact with others while under the influence of alcohol or any other intoxicating substance. The word “free-for-all” is commonly used for describing such lockdown which affect an entire area, as opposed to just specific locations. The main characteristic of a lockdown is that it effectively limits all communication between individuals, preventing any form of meaningful social interaction.
A major problem associated with this type of containment is that it often leads to the erosion of community values. An entire neighborhood, for example, could be divided by a high school, junior high, and a secondary school. The students staying in their own “safe zone” would often participate in sporting events, socialize with friends, and generally get together to play games. Unfortunately, when a” lockdown period” occurs, no one is allowed to interact with others outside of the “safe zone”. This essentially eliminates all forms of communication, creating chaos within the neighborhood.
A new trend in the use of lockdown involves utilizing what is known as an “emergency lockdown”. A major advantage to this form of containment is the ability to use it quickly and effectively in a variety of situations. When an emergency occurs, it is imperative that the public trust the local law enforcement and military presence. A major concern of many is that individuals within a community will become either “lazy” or “easy pickings” for authorities looking to disrupt the situation. If people are not allowed to leave their homes and are “held hostage”, it is likely that police and soldiers will be unable to provide assistance or even protect the public from further harm. A “lockdown” can be used as an effective containment strategy during an emergency.
There are various reasons why a military-style containment plan may be utilized in a pandemic lockdown scenario. For one, it provides the military with a ready resource base should a biological attack occur. In addition, a military-style infrastructure will allow authorities to quickly and easily deploy forces. Lockdowns like these have proven effective in the past. In a worst-case scenario, authorities may use a “covid-19 containment dome” to isolate a suspected infected building.
In a smaller, more contained area, authorities may establish a perimeter around the suspected outbreak site. Once this “ring of safety” has been established, they would monitor the perimeter to prevent any cross-infection. These emergency lockups would be a highly effective containment measure. In this case, if an outbreak occurred in the area where the lockup had been established, authorities would know that there is no outside risk and the area is safe. However, if an outbreak were to occur in the perimeter, containment zones would still need to be enforced at all times.
The same protocol would also apply if an outbreak occurred in an unmonitored evacuation zone. A quarantine area will be established within the evacuation zone. All personnel are to evacuate the area and meet in the designated meeting point. All buildings will be closed off from the public and flights and roads will be shut down. As of the publishing of this article, all airports in the United States have been advised to close their facilities while the mandatory quarantines are in effect.
If an outbreak is contained within an entry or exit area, the area will be shut down until the situation is stabilized. The same protocol would be followed if an outbreak was to occur in a secondary containment area. If an emergency occurs inside a facility, contact the local fire department for additional instructions. The fire department is trained in incident management and has specific protocols in place for all types of emergencies.
If an outbreak is contained in one building or facility, it is important to remember that the lockdown will not last forever. As the epidemic begins to subside, the lockdown may be lifted. If this should happen, contact your local physician to ensure that you are feeling safe and to gather your belongings and make sure that all doors and windows are shut. After a few days of normal activities, you should be able to resume normal routines as the quarantine period ends. This strategy of maintaining a minimal amount of contact with the outside world is necessary if containment is truly the best course of action.