The worldwide lockdowns have clearly been driven by academic panic-merchants like Neil Ferguson’s Imperial College team, and a hysterical media. But you’d also have to say that the Chinese behaviour has equally driven it. If China had been open all along, and told other countries that it looked like there was another SARS-type illness around, and shared whatever data they had, then we wouldn’t have lost our heads to the extent we have.
Instead China did exactly what was going to freak everyone else out: they denied everything in a most implausible way, then they allegedly murdered scientists and doctors who tried to tell the world, and then they launched a brutal lockdown straight out of a dystopian Hollywood movie, with reports of whole apartment blocks being welded shut and mountains of corpses piling up inside.
When the rest of the world saw all that happening it’s no surprise that they panicked and thought the worst. And then you had a load of powerful academics and media figures, who instead of keeping their heads and saying let’s look at this carefully, stared pushing for lockdowns and denouncing anyone who didn’t want one.
I’m not pushing any sort of conspiracy theory about China doing this deliberately to screw up the West. I think they just did what they usually do, and what all despotic governments do, when they’re having domestic trouble: use secrecy, censorship, repression, and extremely authoritarian measures whenever they are threatened by something (in this case, the threat was both a disease and unrest in the population). We were fools to treat their behaviour as the start of a science-fiction horror movie, rather than as the typical behaviour of a totalitarian state.