Exercise in solving problems like the corona pandemic

Pandemic statistics

This is a funny exercise to see how you solve the problem of the corona pandemic in a country the right way. I see many governments, who are using a panel of advisers, who are actually misrepresented by that what makes a country tick.

If a government must listen to a panel of only medical advisers, things are going to be terrible wrong, as we can see with countries like in Europe, US and Israel. To impose repeated national lockdowns means that the costs are unbelievable high. It's much cheaper, actually and it takes only a fraction of the damage it has already been done, to do the whole thing in a better, quicker and cheaper way. It also means success for the politicians. That's the way how countries like Taiwan solved the issue of the Corona pandemic.

For a national emergency, like this corona pandemic, only transparency, logic, determination and results do work. In this way you can get the population motivated to work together with the government to end the pandemic without the heightened tensions between minorities or religious groups. If you don't, the population loses trust and everything is lost. The heads of the politicians will role! The costs will be in the hundreds of billions for each country and some in the trillions. It's also very good possible that the pandemic will rage for years to come and more likely, that the normalization will be many years away.

Trust in government and scientists

Here we think about some exercises in trust

Let's take a scenario, where a government is confronted with the corona pandemic. The top level government consists out of a prime minister, his cabinet filled with the ministers and the rest of the government, which does not play a role in this scenario.

  • The prime minister and his cabinet have no idea what a pandemic, virus, epidemiology is. They are politicians. They even don't understand what science is. Well, at the very least some of them will have a vague idea about some issues here.
  • When they take a dictionary and they try to look it up, they might understand and promptly forget it. The language used in the dictionary is too formal, full with complicated words.
  • So, they come up with the brilliant idea that they need a panel of specialists, who'll advice them. So far, so good.
  • It's about a pandemic, so something to do with science. People get sick and die, so also something medical. They ask some professor and he/she advices an epidemiologist.
    • In plain English this is a Disease Detective. Epidemiologists search for the cause of disease, identify people who are at risk, determine how to control or stop the spread or prevent it from happening again.
  • They explain the situation to the epidemiologist and ask for the advise what to do. He or she advises to shut everything down and wait until the virus will burn out. That is sound, scientific advice and it always works (... in a laboratory).
  • What they forget is that the epidemiologist is a scientist. And honestly they think a scientist is someone running around in a white coat and looks and talks intelligent.
    • A scientist is someone who conducts scientific research to advance knowledge in an area of interest and everything else is out of his or her scope.
    • The research purpose is a statement of "why" the study is being conducted, or the goal of the study. The goal of a study might be to identify or describe a concept or to explain or predict a situation or solution to a situation that indicates the type of study to be conducted.
  • And that's what the epidemiologist did, in the area of his or her expertise. The epidemiologist has no idea about economy, knows nothing about trade or politics, law or anything else than only epidemiology. The epidemiologist gets paid to advice the government in epidemiology.

Now something dreadful has happened.

  • The epidemiologist is a human and he or she might understand that it isn't possible to lock up every individual in a country for a long time. The epidemiologist suggest something not scientific! The person suggest - for example - that everyone will be locked up in their homes with their family for a certain time.
  • The prime minister and his cabinet eat it up! They feel that they do something scientific! They are being advised by science itself.
  • But the prime minister and his cabinet are wrongly advised!
    • The epidemiologist was right advising to lock everyone up in the country until the virus could not spread anymore and in this way the pandemic in the country will be banished.
    • But because the epidemiologist was human and the epidemiologist understood that it's impossible to lock everyone up for a long time, the epidemiologist thought that it would than be better to do it per family unit and for a limited time.
    • This last advice would not destroy the virus and the virus would restart to grow after the people were released!

If the government would have added a specialist in economics, who must work together with the epidemiologist, this would mean a better advice.

  • The epidemiologist advises to lock anyone up for a long time, so that the virus will be destroyed.
  • The economist, who has no idea about epidemiology, but knows everything about how things work economically in a country. The economist protests! He states that if everyone is locked up for a long time, there will be no country left after the virus is gone. Virus gone, country gone, economy gone. That's unacceptable.
  • The idea of being locked up for a certain time is also not acceptable, because the virus will not burn out and it will simply restart with new infections after the the people get released.

A specialist in mental issues is invited to the advisory panel.

  • The psychologist is shocked that someone advises to lock everyone up for a long time. The psychologist knows that the mental stability of the people will go down and people will suffer terrible. Humans are living social creatures and can't be locked up for a long time.
  • Furthermore, the psychologist knows and advises strongly also not to apply a lockdown of any kind, because the human suffering of the population will cause terrible damage, much more than the pandemic is inflicting on the population.
  • The economist agrees with the psychologist about the damage of any lockdown, but in the economical sense. He even advises the most terrible thing for the government, namely less taxes or even no taxes at all!

The advisory panel is at an impasse. They need something else to get a solution. They need a problem solver. So they hire an analyst. And they hire also a project manager.

  • The analyst looks at the problem. He sees the problem about the virus and the only way to get rid of the virus, and so the pandemic is with locking everyone up. Or in English, isolate any individual.
  • The economist states that this will destroy the economy.
  • The psychologist states that every individual will be serious sick, mentally sick, under duress, totally overstressed, etc. It's not healthy for a human to be locked up.
  • The project manage states that something like this can't be implemented and enforced. There is no way to lock millions of people up into ... cells? Prison maybe?

The analyst needs to come up with another plan.

  • The analyst asks the epidemiologist for more options and he gets it:
    • In order to stop the pandemic, the population needs to be 60% immune against the coronavirus. Only than the pandemic will end.
    • The immunization for a population is also called the herd immunity.
    • Herd immunity can only be accomplished by a vaccine and/or by natural infections (and recovery and so getting immune).
    • The epidemiologist knows that there is no vaccine available yet. This takes many years to develop and test.
    • So the only way to succeed is:
      1. Getting herd immunity
      2. Lock up the population until the coronavirus burns out
    • Other ways do not work.
    •  Point 2 is immediately shot-down, because of the extensive damage it will do on the population.
    • Now the point is how to get to the point of herd immunity?

The politicians interfere.

  • They demand that the vaccine will be used when it's ready, tested or not. The advisory panel goes with the new constraint from the politicians.
  • The psychologist and the economist don't care. As long as the people don't get locked up and the economy can function as good as possible, for them it's okay.
  • For the epidemiologist it's a problem, because for a vaccine to work, it needs to be developed first and tested in many different phases, which takes years to finish. To use an untested vaccine on a global population is asking for serious trouble.
  • For the analyst this is nothing else than a calculated risk. For the analyst it's a possible solution for the common good. When a couple of thousand or million people die or get sick is not bad if it helps billions of people and they get rid of the pandemic.
  • The project manager is already designing systems to implement this new idea into workable plans and calculates and isolates the risks as good as possible with plans and alternative plans with different scenarios.

Preparing for the solution

  • The analyst is aware that he needs the corporation of the population of the country. The analyst is also aware that the population (instinctively) doesn't trust authorities, and especially politicians. There are always groups in the population who criticizes the politicians one way or the other. So he comes up with a solution to address this: trust.
  • The analyst proposes transparency of the total process, from the beginning till the end. Each phase, each discussion, each problem must be handled in front of live cameras for everyone to see.
  • All documents reviewed and processed must be available in the public domain. Each analysis each plan, each project, each dataset must be available for the public.
  • The project manager adapt his or her plans.
  • The economist, the psychologist, the epidemiologist don't care, except that they are now in front of the cameras in view of millions of people.
  • The politicians are of course uneasy, but they think it's good PR if they manage to behave themselves.

Plans are being setup by the project manager.

  • The first thing is education and to educate the population what the coronavirus actually is. Wearing masks and to have social distancing is required from now on until the pandemic is gone and stays away.
    • Even that there are valid doubts about the effectiveness of a mask, it's a physiological 'thing' that each individual is fighting the corona pandemic. It's seen as a medal of honor, a sign of a honorable fighter against the pandemic.
  • The second thing is explaining that the virus is only dangerous for those with serious underlying diseases.
  • The risk groups need to be handled.
    • Those people need to be extra protected; the worst cases need to be isolated ... in this way protected against the virus, otherwise it's likely they might even die.
    • The psychologist designs way to protect them from mental harm.
    • The other high risk group are the elderly. Depending on the country (and/or region), the majority might live in nursery homes or in other countries the majority of the elderly might live alone or live with their families. Those people need to be isolated and protected against infections of others.
  • And other risk group are the travelers from abroad.
    • They need to be tested and isolated until they don't form a risk anymore.
    • The isolation must be in the so called corona hotels with the full facilities of care and after care, food, medical and psychological, financial help and being monitored.
  • All the details of the risk groups are being presented, discussed and studied and voted for.

Because all of those sessions are being discussed and presented in front of live TV, Internet and if the media reporting this, everyone can read it and rewatch it on video with their smartphones and computers, the population get prepared and know what's coming.

The population also knows about the risks of an untested vaccination, and the ability to refuse or to accept the vaccine without any problem for anyone. They have the choice between getting the vaccine, and when they refuse it, they have automatically the option (or risk) to get infected by the coronavirus.

  • The vaccination plans are being discussed and depending on the availability of the vaccins, plans as setup who gets vaccinated first and what group of the population gets vaccinated next.
  • The vaccination process is managed and organized by the project manager, not the local medical authorities. The reason is that during vaccinations, people need to be organized the right way with social distancing and masks and overcrowding is not allowed.

For those who need isolation, the following:

  • For those who are infected with the coronavirus, they need to be isolated.
  • Isolation can be:
    • At home if possible
    • At a corona hotel
  • Both locations must be monitored and registered.
  • Everyone who breaks the isolation will be fined for thousands of dollars or jail time.
  • A full register of anyone in isolation must be available all time

Implementation

In the meantime, the rest of the population goes to school, go to work and live their daily lives with a few restrictions.

  • Everyone must keep social distancing. Everyone must wear masks when they are in public or at work or with friends.
  • Businesses, shops, restaurants, entertainment must abide to the coronavirus rules. That means limited people in a room or space within the building, limited people in an open space (i.e. concerts, demonstrations, etc.).
  • Religious institutions like churches, synagogues, mosques are allowed to continue with the coronavirus rules implemented (social distancing, mask wearing and limited number of people in enclosed rooms.
  • The police must and will enforce the rules. Everyone breaking the rules get fined four thousands of dollars and for repeaters jail time.
  • People will get infected ... and after a couple of days they get rid of the coronavirus and in this way they are immune.

Testing centers are setup through the whole country.

  • Every person working for a company must be tested at least once per week.
  • Testing centers must be everywhere, so the population can be tested (each week).
  • In this way, the analyst and project manager gets detailed reports about the number of people infected per location, per street.
  • They design a system of colors, like red means uncontrolled high infections and green no infections and everything within.
  • The analyst wants to know why there is a concentration of infections for that specific street or neighborhood and investigate together with the epidemiologist and if needed the psychologist.

Vaccination centers are setup through whole the country, in each city, neighborhood, together with mobile vaccination centers (to reach those not able to come to the vaccination centers and/or live remote.

  • The first wave of vaccinations are focused on the groups with the highest risks, like the medical personnel handling corona cases daily, the elderly and those with serious underlying diseases.
  • Then the rest of the population based on an appointment system, which gives everyone enough time to get vaccinated without waiting for hours amid absolute chaos and overcrowding.

Testing centers are being used to determine the rate of herd immunity on a regular basis.

  • The reason for this is that it gives the analyst and project manager the ability to see how far the immunity of the total population work, based on vaccinations and natural immunity after infection.
  • With these numbers plans might be adapted on the changed reality on the ground.

Analytics

  • Every minute of the project will be monitored and presented. Anyone, citizen or specialist sees what the state is of the corona pandemic and how far (successful or not) this process develops.
  • Furthermore, this type of presentation will immediately display the problem areas

Final

And a couple of final words about this exercise. It's actually funny to do such thing. I personally believe that this approach is the right one to fight something like the coronavirus, which is a national threat. You can't shoot the corona, neither burn it or bomb it, you can't fight it the normal way, but you can creature ways to fight the coronavirus and do that with the whole population involved. For this you need trust and openness in anything you do related to the coronavirus live, every single minute of the day, making every single detail available for the population and update everyone of any aspect of the state of the country and pandemic.

If you don't, and almost all countries in the world didn't, you run into serious problems. You delay the recovery for years to come. The distrust of the population in their politicians and scientists will be all time high and only grows. And that's exactly what is happening now.

And it's also very likely that there will be new elections in Israel and that is also a very big reason why President Trump lost his elections.

3 thoughts on “Exercise in solving problems like the corona pandemic”

  1. This was fun doing something like this. In my opinion it’s also the only way how things are done the right way. As a project manager and analyst there is no problem, which can’t be solved.

    1. And I’m sorry to state, but the way how the corona pandemic was managed by President Trump was also the biggest reason why he lost so many votes.

      Transparency during the corona pandemic fight is the key to success. He didn’t do it.

      Many of his statements about the corona pandemic were correct and the way how the Democrats were weaponizing the pandemic he was right about it too, but he didn’t come up with the right approach to neutralize them.

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