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(Image: AAP/James Ross)

The COVID-19 lockdowns that have taken various forms over the last six months represent one of the most radical transformations of everyday life by the state in human history. Nothing really compares to it.

The lockdowns and quarantines during the plague years of the Middle Ages still obliged large households to function, farming to occur, etc. The ghettoing and immuration of Jewish and other communities still saw daily life continue within those walls.

People starved in the million during the two-year siege of Leningrad in World War II – but still worked, walked in the street, visited, hugged, held.