We have made mistakes and there will be human suffering and economic consequences. However, we can start to glimpse a path to prevail against COVID19. Victory against the virus depends on all of us working together to make it happen.
We are living through incredible times that move very fast. This is the second week of isolation in Madrid and we know that we have at least 4 to go, probably more. Four weeks ago, COVID was a Chinese thing, Three weeks ago, Italy was already in danger. Two weeks ago we went from Women’s Day marches with millions of people and political rallies to full lockdown. Last week, most countries followed into lockdown.
There is still a lot of uncertainty about what will happen and what is the right thing to do. I have changed opinion quickly over the last weeks, so I don’t feel entitled to give lessons. There will be time to review and learn later. Now we have to act and prevail.
There seems to be a consensus about the two problems we need to solve:
- Healthcare: uncontrolled expansion and healthcare system collapse. COVID has demonstrated it can overwhelm healthcare systems if unchecked, causing massive spikes in direct and indirect deaths. It has happened in China and Italy, and it is happening in Madrid. Supporting the health system with personnel, equipment, resources, access etc… can mitigate impacts. However, only limiting expansion through lockdown seems to stop a large outbreak, like China modelled and many countries are trying.
- Economics: collapse due to lockdowns. COVID threatens to overwhelm the economic system also. The wheel is not designed to stop spinning. Liquidity support and worker and SME support at a massive scale seem the consensus actions. First taken at scale by the UK and then broadly adopted by most countries.
There is a third problem emerging in the global consciousness: avoiding the re-run of uncontrolled expansion. We need a system in place to ensure this until a vaccine is ready in one or two years. We cannot afford the economic consequences of a second lockdown. Luckily Korea and other Asian countries have already pioneered the system, T3. It requires massive testing, tracking and isolating infected patients and tracing contacts of those patients. We have the lockdown period to put this system in place and avoid a re-run, good weather might buy us some more time until the fall.
So, do your part. Whether it is only you or large resources, there is much you can do:
- Support healthcare with personnel, equipment, resources or just avoiding it while it is overloaded. Celebrate healthcare workers.
- Comply with the lockdown and support enforcement. Help especially those in vulnerable populations. Celebrate security forces.
- Contribute to avoid an economic collapse. Help an SME or a hard hit employee (or a million) make it through. Celebrate the ones who sacrifice most in lockdown.
- Be prepared for T3. Some few will have to contribute to the technical infrastructure that makes it possible, we will all have to sacrifice a degree of liberty and privacy to make it viable. Celebrate those who create it and all of us for living with it.
As the Italians are saying “Andrà tutto benne”, all will be well. Stay positive and go for it!