SKAPE Covid Roundtable I: Asking questions about lockdowns
We are excited to host this year’s first roundtable discussion. For this panel discussion about the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, we welcome Professor Linda Bauld (University of Edinburgh), Professor Mark Woolhouse (University of Edinburgh) and Professor Yossi Nehushtan (Keele University).
Please see below for details and registration.
Were lockdowns necessary? Do they provide a policy template for future pandemics? Were their benefits adequately weighed against their costs? Can pandemic preparedness be made meaningful for future outbreaks?
Of all the policy innovations crafted in response to the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic, the imposition of ‘lockdowns’ remains the most controversial. Until 2020 a term with carceral connotations, following the cordon sanitaire placed around the city of Wuhan China’s experiment in quarantining cities and the nation as a whole was endorsed by the World Health Organisation and adopted by countries across the world in the face of dire epidemiological predictions of health care systems being overwhelmed. In the intervening years, governments have generally considered stay-at-home orders successful in ‘stopping the spread’ and ‘flattening the curve’. Some thinkers have even argued that lockdowns provide a policy template for managing future pandemics or responding to climate change. Others, however, argue that the collateral damage of lockdowns to public health was too high, as were the costs to individual liberty. Others still question whether lockdowns were successful in reducing mortality from the virus.
The first SKAPE roundtable on the governance of the pandemic assembles three scholars who offer differing perspectives on these issues.
Professor Linda Bauld is a behavioural scientist whose research focuses on evaluating complex public health interventions and the use of evidence to inform health policy. She is Co-Director, along with Professor David Weller, of the Centre for Population Health Sciences within the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute. In 2021 she was awarded an OBE for her services in guiding public health responses to and public understanding of Covid-19.
Professor Mark Woolhouse is an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Edinburgh who studies viral threats to human and animal health. During the Covid pandemic, he was a member of the SPI-M subgroup of SAGE and the Scottish Covid-19 Advisory Group. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Academy of Medical Sciences and was awarded an OBE in 2002. His book about lockdown – The Year The World Went Mad (Sandstone Press) – was published in February 2022.
Professor Yossi Nehushtan is a scholar of law and philosophy at Keele University who researches public law, human rights law, and law and religion. He is editor of the Keele Law Review and Co-Director of the MA in Human Rights. He holds degrees from Striks Law School (LLB), the Hebrew University (LLM) and Oxford University (BCL, MPhil, DPhil). He recently co-edited the collection Pandemic Response and the Cost of Lockdowns: Global Debates from Humanities and Social Sciences (Routledge, 2022).
This event will take place in person at the University of Edinburgh in the location Lower Ground Floor, Room .11, 40 George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9JX.
Registration is free but mandatory. Please book your place via our Eventbrite page.
Cover photo credit: Yohann Libot via Unsplash.