A frustrating thing over the last month has been some poor public health messaging. In fairness, I think it’s finally sunk into a lot of people’s heads that you need TO WASH YOUR DAMN HANDS! (Sure, it took a fucking pandemic to make that happen, but take it where you can get it, I suppose). But there are so many phrases that are confusing people floating around, one of which is lockdown, along with its co-traveler, shelter-in-place. Lockdown implies that the only activities allowed outside of your domicile are getting food (groceries), medicines, and medical treatment (which is what much of Italy is under), as well as travel for essential personnel. However, none of the so-called lockdowns or lockdown proposals in the U.S. call for this.
Whether or not the proposals should go that far is a separate question, but most ‘lockdowns’ allow people to leave their homes for exercise* and to get takeout/delivery food (in addition to the activities listed above). What the term does though is confuse people and get their backs up–it’s the exact same term used when confining prisoners to their cells. Shelter-in-place isn’t much better–that’s what you’re supposed to do during a hurricane or tornado. Instead, consider listing what we should and shouldn’t do without a catchy term, or else come up with a different term, perhaps one that incorporates the word restriction**.
*And could we prohibit running/jogging on city sidewalks where it’s very difficult to maintain six feet of separation to begin with? Vigorous exhalation on the sidewalk by walkers would be frowned on, so let’s not do this.
**Curated activities. We make the funny.