Is the Return to Lockdown Inevitable?

This week AM analysts have been monitoring reports about the possibilities of a return to ‘lockdown’ measures in the United States to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 delta variant. While some people feel that the worst of the pandemic is behind us, others feel that the worst is still yet to come. One thing is clear, we’ve learned over the past eighteen months that we can’t with any certainty predict where the pandemic is heading and what variants are going to appear in the future. 

Throughout the pandemic, all 50 states have had varying responses to the pandemic. California implemented some of the most severe restrictions, while Florida had virtually none. Many states and the District of Columbia imposed public health restrictions at the start of the pandemic, and when cases decreased to relatively safe levels, authorities eased restrictions. At the peak of the pandemic, over 310 million people across America were subjected to various restrictions including, social distancing, shelter in place, and stay-at-home orders. The reintroduction of some of these safety measures comes as no surprise, and they are generally welcomed by many, especially as the United States is now averaging over 100,000 new COVID cases a day. 

In New York, officials are introducing so-called vaccine passports. However, the introduction of vaccine passports present issues such as privacy concerns and the possibility of excluding those members of society who have legitimate reasons for being unvaccinated. Additionally, vaccine passports may further existing health inequities among African-American and immigrant communities who tend to have lower vaccination rates than other communities. 

To further complicate things, federal officials are sending mixed signals to the American public. The Biden administration indicated during a July 29 press conference that they are open to a return to lockdowns. However, on August 1, U.S. infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, stated that Americans will not return to lockdowns. Dr. Fauci also cautioned that things “were going to get worse” during the fall due to the delta variant, particularly for the unvaccinated population.

In countries like New Zealand, Australia, and Bangladesh, lockdown measures have been reintroduced. In the United States, the delta variant is responsible for an uptick in new cases and deaths. While it is unclear what direction the U.S. will be headed in the near future, some states are already reimposing restrictions. Louisiana, Nevada, and the District of Columbia have reimposed mask mandates for the vaccinated and unvaccinated. While the political appetite for reimposing lockdowns remains low, the surge in cases is causing concern for many local authorities. With just over half of the US population fully vaccinated, the chances of large-scale lockdowns are unlikely, but as the virus continues to surprise us, we can never say never.


AM LLC is currently working nationwide with multiple states and public health agencies on testing, contact tracing, and vaccination programs. Counties, states, or K-12 partners that are interested in partnering with AM for COVID-19 mitigation support should contact Dr. Christopher K Orlea at

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