Getting Back on Track

There are certain things we have to rely on the government to handle. Epidemics are near the top of the list. We place our trust that it will act in our best interest. Across the world, with few exceptions, this trust is misplaced. The government claims to be led by exceptional leaders backed up by elite experts. Together they will do the things individuals are unable to do for themselves. We provide the money they tell us they need, and they use it to protect us. Like with the military, we expect those involved with potential epidemics to have plans and the where-with-all to assess the situation in a timely fashion. Starting with its beginning in China and traveling across the globe, Covid-19 exposed much of the world’s leaders as moribund.

It started with President Xi’s Chinese Communist Party’s failure to follow international norms, allowing the disease to circle the globe. Ignoring the disease’s unique characteristics, a large number of nations adopted crushing lockdowns. To be sure, the epidemic was going to cause economic damage in certain areas, such as travel, hospitality, and live entertainment. These would remain hobbled until they could adjust. However, many Governments went much, much further. Economies came to a screeching halt. Like a car on a freeway that suddenly jams on the brakes, the pileups ensued.

Good generals look at each situation as unique. In the movies the “Desert Fox” and “Patton,” we see Rommel and Patton out front with their binoculars evaluating the actual situation. They made their plans on what they saw—no relying on preconceived ideas or past procedures. There was no waiting for subordinates’ reports. They realized every battle is singular.

Right from the beginning, some people looked at the actual Covid-19 data and drew up plans based on what was there. From Asia, through Italy and even New York, the data always said the same thing. This disease affected the elderly and those with underlying conditions. For healthy people under 60, it was no more dangerous than seasonal flu.

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