Wednesday, June 24, 2020

If This is a Dress Rehearsal, We've Got a Lot of Work to Do.

Across the West we're learning how ill-constituted our governments are to handle emergencies. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, they've hummed and hawed, wasted weeks or even months before acting, causing thousands of unnecessary deaths and suffering. Finally they ordered lockdowns but, even then, they were half-hearted about it, eager to lift the restrictions, usually erring on the side of incaution.

Now, after months of lockdown, Covid-19 is returning, with a vengeance, in places where the political caste chose that it should return. "Chose" to bring the coronavirus back? Yes, of course.
We're all deemed to intend the logical and foreseeable consequences of our acts. The medical types and the scientists said rushing to re-open businesses would likely blow up in our faces, advice that was in many jurisdictions ignored.

Which brings to mind Churchill's line about how we deal with emergencies. He said "Sometimes it is not enough that we do our best. Sometimes we must do what is required." Emergencies are almost never overcome with half measures and weak resolve. Not every emergency comes with the luxury of second chances, do-overs.

When it came to wrestling the first wave of Covid-19 to the ground, in most cases we did not "do what is required" with predictable results.  How this will play out in the period before an effective vaccine arrives, no one, including you, knows. If the best medical and science minds don't know, you don't know either.

But my concern isn't about the persistence of the latest coronavirus, the lives it will claim, the scars it will leave in the hide of the global economy. My concern is what we have seen from our political leadership.  I think most of them have shown themselves "unfit for purpose."

What would they do if another plague, far more dangerous than Covid-19 reaches our shores? What would they do if (when) we are challenged by a cascade of overlapping emergencies - a plague, a military threat perhaps over resources, one of several climate-related disasters such as famine, internally displaced populations, migration? What have they done to build up our resilience, the rot in our economies from being locked into a global economy with its brittle extended supply chains and "just in time" mentality?

If Covid-19 is just a dress rehearsal, we are definitely not ready for opening night.


Trailblazer said...

It would seem that the virus is now affecting more young folk, the very same ones that act as if they are immune.
We all were once young and immature so I will not cast stones.
Considering what youth are leads me to think that lockdowns are a very important part of fighting the virus.
We cannot rely upon ( BC is somewhat of a exception) the general public who are allied to many political and religious beliefs that promote the individual; to do what is necessary to curb the spread of Covid19.

Again I come to ' what is more important , your rights or your responsibilities?



rumleyfips said...

The American executive, governors and populace want to save the economy by eliminating health directives. They may be triggering a deluge of covid19 that will become the economy killer.

Be careful what you wish for.

Owen Gray said...

Just the other day, I saw a sign carried by a Trump supporter. It read "Selfish + Proud." That's where we are.

The Disaffected Lib said...

Hey, fellas. I can't find a good link to it but you really should check this out:

It was recorded at a public session of the Palm Beach county council as they met to debate a mandatory mask ordinance.

This isn't a matter of rights versus responsibilities. It is rights AND responsibilities, the success of each dependent on the other. It is one of the most dangerous delusions of our time to believe that rights exist in some deified isolation.

Fiasco, Rumley, is what can result when you try to shape a medical crisis to conform to your political priorities.

Owen, the link I left speaks to your observation. Wish it didn't.

Northern PoV said...

Our failure on Covid-19 is culturally based.
We in the west don't have the social attitudes or mechanisms to deal with pandemics.

Asian countries with little money are defeating this with community trace, track and isolation.
Vietnam - zero deaths
Thailand - tiny numbers - but 1M health-monitor volunteers to implement (over 1% of the population)
Even the 'affluent' Asians are doing better than anywhere in the west.

OTOH, we are 'Selfish and Proud' (It ain't just the ridiculous Yankees)

Toby said...

The Disaffected Lib said...

Toby, I saw that BBC clip. My link is just above yours. :)

The Disaffected Lib said...

Cultural differences certainly play a big role in the differences in outcomes, NPoV. SE Asian countries are better at fighting some infectious diseases. Their Achilles Heel is environmental degradation and climate breakdown. Witness the Mekong.

Anonymous said...

Recently in South Korea, solar panels everywhere, up the side of mountains, on rooftops, in every crook and cranny....better than What Canada is doing.Trucks full of refuse all cover the place with Korean garbage going to be remanufactured. Anyong