Oscar del Pozo / AFP via Getty ImagesTwo people wearing face masks look at local police officers controlling people’s movement in a traffic checkpoint in Madrid, on Oct. 3, 2020, as the city braced for the imposition of new restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19. (Oscar del Pozo / AFP via Getty Images)
As the novel coronavirus spread across the world at a worrying pace in early 2020, world leaders attempted to emulate China’s authoritarian model of strict lockdowns.
Nations across Europe shuttered cities and regions, and eventually the countries themselves were locked down.
The measures were a needed solution to the dire COVID-19 health crisis, leaders explained. They also promised an upside to the dreary weeks indoors: The lockdowns would break the curve of coronavirus infections and save countless lives.
Seven months after the quarantines began, it’s beginning to look like the world was oversold on