When faced with a pandemic, the type of which we have never experienced before, there are really no experts. Everyone is either under-reacting or overreacting to the situation. The resulting chaos makes for limited progress for almost everyone. Beginning with the rush on medical services, people with regular coughs and colds thought they might be dying and in need of urgent medical attention. At many other hospitals, the medical professionals played down the threat and told those with flu symptoms to go back home, unaware that those patients were carriers of “the virus” being sent forth to spread it. In the panic, a few public policymakers in Africa panicked, shutting down everything down including food markets. If people don’t die from the virus, why not die from hunger?
As the dust settled (somewhat), some experts were more committed to justifying their previous actions than in acknowledging the fact that their initial actions weren’t made as experts but based on panic. The moment a pandemic of this magnitude breaks, few people (if any) know what they are doing. The few who had great ideas of what to do were burdened by the obstacles brought on by those who were reacting in panic.
Think about the example of a room full of people when the fire alarm goes off, people run in every direction and no one cares about your PhD or knowledge of the building. Panic first, think later! Trying to stop people from panicking and creating more chaos may be costly to you. A bloody nose later you, you will realize that irrationality is enshrined in our human psyche. Chances are, if we had this all to do again, we would do it all the same random way.
Writer, Consultant, Analyst and Professional Parent