The Dangerous Dream of Zero Covid in Australia

The government is ignoring the costs of lockdowns—for lives, for liberty, and for the economy.

by Emilie Dye

We often hear that “if it saves just one life, it must be worth it,” no matter the cost. But COVID lockdowns have a considerable cost—not just to the economy, but to liberty and, yes, to lives. Australians have been learning the hard way that the “zero COVID” strategy is impossible. We must learn to live with acceptable risks.

The city of Sydney is in week 12 of a harsh lockdown that has seen residents in the worst-affected areas confined to their homes 23 hours a day, with just 60 minutes permitted outside for exercise. When people do venture out, it must be between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m.

In other parts of Sydney, life is a little easier. People can go out for an early-morning or late-night run, but must stick to a roughly three-mile radius from their home.

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