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Pritzker's lockdown a great idea

Joseph Bauers’ June 19 letter proclaims the COVID-19 lockdown is stupid, not worth crashing the economy. Let’s see what a real lockdown is and what it’s accomplished.

New Zealand imposed Alert Level 4 on March 25. Essential services included grocery stores, health care, petrol stations, public emergency services and very little else. Unlike the freedom of movement we enjoy in Illinois, Kiwis couldn’t go to their local garden centers, play golf, get take-away pub food, gather with anyone outside their household bubble, get their fingernails customized or roots dyed or drive through McDonald’s. Police patrolled the streets. Kiwis were basically confined to their homes.

Kiwis are an independent lot. Yes, there was grumbling and people felt imposed upon. It wasn’t a happy time. But Kiwis aren’t stupid. They stuck with it. Defying orders was rare. Sound familiar? Of course not.

The results? Only 75 days later, Alert Level 1 rescinded virtually all restrictions. New Zealand was COVID-19 free; no active cases. Now Kiwis are shopping, buying things, eating at restaurants, socializing and, most importantly, watching live rugby. As we would say, they’re open. They’re stoking their economy and enjoying the rewards of their brief sacrifice.

The difference? Leaders actually lead and earn their citizens’ trust and respect. The approval rating for the government’s pandemic response is over 90 percent. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s personal approval is approaching 70 percent. What good ol’ ’Merican politician can claim that? That’s what real leaders bring to their citizens.

A real lockdown — not stupid at all.

TOM NAPIER

Champaign