An impractical, impossible absolute, actual “Total Lock Down”

An actual “lockdown” is not possible, but if it was — no going out for groceries, no walking the dog; no doctor visits; just staying cloistered in my house with my immediate family and using my stored meds, groceries and toilet paper — even by threat of arrest or worse, would that stem the tide of the virus? Yes, there would be a high death count but many would survive. How long before we’d be out of the woods?

New Zealand did it.

Four weeks, says Andy Slavitt (Obama Medicare head).

Uh, I don’t think any of those people are proposing the same thing the OP is proposing, and I’m pretty sure that isn’t what New Zealand did either. The premise of the OP is that nobody is allowed to leave their home for ANY reason, i.e. if you run out of food before the lockdown ends, you go hungry; if you need medical attention, too bad, you can’t get it before the lockdown ends.

Obviously, this would work to stop the spread of Covid-19 (assuming it could be enforced remotely by drone strikes). Just as obviously, it is not something a reasonable society ever could or would do.

As for how long it would take, I don’t know, but don’t forget that a lot of people live in congregate settings like prisons, homeless shelters, assisted living facilities, etc., and that it can take a long time for an outbreak to run its course in such a setting. My guess is that only hard-core preppers would still be alive at the end.

Plus, as I’ve mentioned in other threads, how many of those people would give the current federal government the power to enforce a lockdown nationwide, if it were even possible (which, given rural areas, I seriously doubt)?

Another reason for them and us to vote.

ETA: just read the second link above, and it gives me more questions. Like what happens to the supply chain in his scenario if farmers and truckers stay home? Would there be food shortages? Why does he say that safe gatherings can happen when such things are a major source of community spread? And, again, how do we guarantee that people in rural areas can’t just do whatever the hell they want?

Yes. You’d have to isolate everybody individually, which would among other problems significantly raise the death toll.

And you’d have to get everybody in the whole world to do it at once; because even if we were willing to isolate from the rest of the planet till the end of time, it’s abundantly clear that no border of any length can be perfectly sealed.

And if everybody’s staying home, who’s enforcing the shutdown?

From the farm end, as I’ve pointed out elsewhere, it’s not only a how-to-get-the-food-there problem. Even if one presumes that “stay home” doesn’t mean “stay inside the house” but allows still going to barns and fields: most modern farms require multiple people to run, and generally a significant chunk of those people are hired. There would be a lot of dead livestock and failed crops, and it would take years to build stocks back up to normal, and at least one crop year to get crops back – probably longer, as seed crops would be among the failures.

Who’s’'s going to work in the infrastructure, or are we also planning to have no electricity, water, or wildfire abatement? Who’s going to milk the cows? Are we giving birth in the kitchen?

…there is a big difference between a “New Zealand style lockdown” and the lockdown suggested by the OP. A “total lockdown” as posited by the OP could be done in four weeks assuming zero breaches: that would be two incubation periods of the virus. But such a lockdown would probably result in thousands of excess deaths.

A New Zealand style lockdown would take just a bit longer than two months. Five weeks in Lockdown Level 4 (thats 2 and a bit incubation periods) and, assuming the metrics look good you can begin a managed reopening. (dropping down the levels every additional incubation period)

Not a hard core prepper by any means, but we do have enough supplies to hole up totally for the 4 weeks in question, provided the fucking electric company can keep the freaking power on … [I live in Connecticut]

However, absolutely nothing would keep me from going for my chemo infusions, they would have to plonk me into a hospital for those 4 infusion sessions and assorted bloodwork.

Sounds a lot like what they do in the Phillipines. 5 months of severe lockdown, very bad results for the economy, and only a little slowdown of the pandemic. A disastrous policy.

Yeah. Honestly, I’m seeing a lot of “lockdowns can’t fail, they can only be failed” thinking, especially from Americans – and I get the frustration with our current policy response, I’m frustrated too, but it seems to ignore the fact that a lot of countries (Panama also comes to mind) have tried the very strict lockdown approach, and discovered that didn’t work either. A public policy that requires an unrealistic level of long-term cooperation from the general public is not a good policy. (Also, one that fails to differentiate between high-risk and low-risk activities is not a good policy for this particular situation. Closing bars is a reasonable response to a pandemic; forbidding people from walking their dog is not.)

I suspect you’re unusual in that respect. I live alone in a one-bedroom apartment and I think if I had to, I could go perhaps ten days or maybe two weeks with what’s in the pantry and refrigerator. And even then, the fresh food (milk, eggs, fruit, vegetables) would be gone early on. Many people have less than that.

There’s food but also electricity, water, internet service, etc depends on people physically showing up to keep things running.

Assuming you have sufficient food in the first place, I hope you have a generator for your refrigerator and your own safe source of water. And multi-vitamins or your own garden, because fresh produce is not going to be available for while - longer than the lockdown itself since the supply chain needs additional time to get back on track. It’s not like anybody will be able to go to Kroger the day after lockdown ends and find any fresh food.

And I hope you can entertain yourself without the internet or radio or TV for the duration (and after - again, takes time to restart from scratch), since there’s no guarantee those will run for long in your area without somebody keeping them up. That’s assuming the power stays up, of course.

Electricity would be a huge problem in the absolute lockdown scenario. Una wrote back in 2004 that it would basically last a day in large parts of the US. Maybe we’ve had some automation improvements since then, and we’re certainly less reliant on coal. Perhaps you could stretch that out a bit longer if the plants could be remotely operated, and if we had a bit of prep time. But we’re not getting through four weeks without humans present at the coal plants and natural gas wellheads.

Lacking electricity would suck for really hot places in the summer, and for cold places in the winter. Even if you have other forms of heat, most people are reliant on electric fans. And you wouldn’t have gas after a while, either, if you’re relying on that. So we should probably aim for September for the shutdown.

Oh, and you probably wouldn’t have running water either without electricity to run pumps. I have a filter for camping that I could dip into any old stream and make potable water, but if I’m not allowed to leave home, it doesn’t really do me much good, does it?

And as someone pointed out up-thread, once lockdown is over, it’s not as if all the power, gas, and water systems are going to just turn back on. And the grocery stores aren’t going to be immediately stocked.

So basically, unless you’re ready to run off-grid for four-plus weeks - you have food, water, fuel, and medicine for that period - you’re not going to make it.

In this scenario, is anyone considered an essential worker? Do doctors, nurses and other hospital staff go to work? Do police and firefighters? What about grocery store employees? If none of them go to work, it’s going to end up like the movie The Purge, with lawless hordes running rampant. Only worse, because that was only for one day and the scenario here extends it for a longer period.

mrAru and I both have midwestern farm girls as mothers, both raised during the depression so we have an ingrained habit of stockpiling dried and canned goods and other essentials. Though this time around it was somewhat hit or miss, gathered somewhat randomly during sales prior to January. As we work through the supplies, we have been listing stuff - deciding what we want in a more organized fashion [frex, I like cream in my coffee, but being allergic to palm/coconut non dairy creamers are out, and condensed moo juice tastes sort of carmelized, not a flavor I like. We discovered dehydraged whole cream, which actually works quite well!] We have been working on the amounts of various things [tea bags, packets of sweetener, bags of coffee, and so on] We also are deciding on how many and where we can put small 4’x8’ raised bed gardens in the yard [I am thinking we can put 4 in easily if we chop down the annoying tulip tree that I am allergic to] and another 2 to 3 in the back yard. Our roomies are in charge of growing stuff, I have a decidedly black thumb [I killed an air fern, for gosh sakes]

Survivor mentality? Yup - if you don’t make plans, you get caught out, and it can be detrimental to your mental health [worry sucks!] If you have limited space, I encourage you to think about going small - dehydrated fruits and vegetables, beans, rice, pastas, and selected canned goods [spaghetti sauce is good to have on hand, with the addition of dried beans, dried onions and dried peppers with a packet of chili seasoning you can have a reasonable chili] I have tried freeze dried beef and chicken chunks, I prefer the chicken to the beef - and it rehydrates into soup quite well and a number 10 can is something like 60 portions of protein.

Do people think that other countries actually turned everything off and stopped going to work? If you could work from home you did. You restrict the number of people entering a grocery store and everyone wears a mask and plastic barriers go up between customers and cashiers. Home Depot and places shut or do a curbside pickup and no one is allowed in the store. Public servants, health care providers continue to work. Roads get very quiet and the “just pop out to get something” stops happening.

Power keeps working, water keeps working, bars shut down, physio restricts itself and goes heavily into PPE mode.

Americans continue to be exceptional at being bad at this.

Never mind - just reread the OP and it’s a “everyone isolate for X days” hypothetical.