COVID-19 has caused huge disruptions to the way we live our lives. However, everything will eventually get to some normality again. But it will be a new norm.
Data detail during COVID-19
This is the second of a series of posts designed to provide insights. They are brief and personal views. Feel free to comment and contribute. I am expecting differences of opinion. Some of the topics are somewhat controversial. Some lessons learnt are however plainly obvious.
Lesson 2 - Containment
· Data shows the Covid 19 virus (that from all accounts) originated in China has been best controlled in that country (South Korea and Singapore have also made great strides in managing the spread of the virus). At least, better than most other countries.
· Authorities using command and control methodologies moved swiftly to contain and limit the spread. You may have seen videos of people being quickly taken away by Chinese authorities suspected of carrying the virus.
· Whether we like or agree with their methods in this situation, China has implemented an aggressive containment strategy; it locked down cities and transport across the country, grounding tens of millions; factories shut down; schools and offices closed; streets emptied; limiting social activities; and cancelling events etc. confining people to their homes or place of residence.
· Some might call these measures draconian or extreme, yet the numbers appear to show that this approach has controlled the spread. It may appear excessive but it seems to have worked.
· In contrast, western ‘open’ states have reacted less swiftly. Initial lock-down laws were suggestions rather than directives.
· “Superspreaders” march around cities unbeknown to everyone else of their viral spread.
· To their detriment, Italians like to embrace, kiss each other on both cheeks and affectionally hold hands when they meet in the street. It’s as much cultural as it is habitual. Being winter in the northern hemisphere also has not helped to contain Covid-19). Other factors including having an older population, poor air quality and the large number of cigarette smokers coupled with the slow response to the pandemic rendered containment obsolete.
· The USA (and the U.K.) is following the same path although it appears this is due to political and bureaucratic impediments. More will be exposed over the coming weeks and months, but on the surface there appears to be a disconnect between bureaucracies, some incompetence’s and a Republican government wishing/hoping to have some economic stability amongst the turmoil, in the lead-up to the November 2020 elections.
· Travellers from all over the globe have rendered any control or containment obsolete. Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy indicated that a large percentage of the spread here in Australia originate from people returning/coming from overseas, or from people in direct contact with people from overseas. Recent measures to quarantine and or isolate travellers will abate the spread, but the amount of damage already incurred is yet unknown.
This pandemic is a complex set of affairs affecting everything and everyone alike. From the information and data presented, more (not less) draconian command and control measures are prudent courses of action. This compares to a slower, more measured, open, consultative, ‘democratic’ method. Whilst not the most agreeable approach by democratic societies, command and control is proven to be more effective in cases like this where disease spread is exponential.
Being decisive and showing leadership is what citizens need, even demand, during crisis moments. Command and control can be exercised, but in a humane, communicative way, (even though some people might not like it). Being transparent (with accurate, consistent and relevant data) while treating humans with dignity and respect, allow authorities (and are given permission) to exercise tough love. With Covid-19 social distancing and isolation are an act or love (Ellen van Neerven on social isolation).