Covid 19 is Not a Health Crisis, It is a Crisis of Confidence

My Brother sent me this interview with Colonel Redman a while ago and I just got around to reading it.  Colonel Redman has been involved with emergency planning for decades.  First in the Canadian military then with the Alberta government, now as a private consultant.  He would appear to be a real expert not the fake experts that the news has so much time for so I am shocked that a reporter spent time on this.  The interview is long but good.  You can find it here.

“Every Store and School Should be Open.” Confronting the Pandemic with Confidence | C2C Journal

The colonel was not impressed with our response to date.  To me the most interesting points the colonel made are as follows.

  1. You do not put health care professionals in charge of a health emergency.
  2. You do not throw out your plan at the beginning of the event.
  3. The stand down cannot be ordered as long as the public has no confidence in your handling of the emergency.
  4. Covid 19 is a ridiculously easy emergency to handle and we have failed miserably.

The first one might be counterintuitive but anyone that has been involved in a real emergency will understand.  Here is an example that should make it clearer.  If there was a large explosion and fire you definitely need the fire chief to take command of the fire but the fire is not your only problem.  People have been injured, do you want the fire department to treat them or do you want to send them to the hospital?  How do you get them to the hospital if the roads are blocked with fire equipment?  You need police to handle traffic.  What if the explosion damaged power, water, and gas lines?  Is the fire department supposed to fix all of that while they are fighting the fire?

In any emergency there is an on scene commander (the fire chief) who reports to the Incident commander who coordinates all of the others needed to assist.  The Fire chief is not put in charge of everything because his only concern is the fire.  When all you have is a hammer everything you see is a nail.  The fire chief will see a fire, the doctor will see injured people, and the police will see the access problems.

A viral outbreak is no different.  In a modern integrated economy the virus does not just produce sick people.  It also creates shortages of people and equipment.  What if everyone in the water treatment plant got sick?  A shortage of clean water would cause other much larger problems.  Do you want Theresa Tam or Deena Hinshaw running water treatment plants?

Instead of doing what they are paid to do, every Premier in Canada ran and hid behind the skirts of the chief medical officers.  They abdicated their responsibilities and handed them to the wrong person.  That is why we threw out our pandemic response plans and started adlibbing from day one of this government escalated crisis.

Alberta built a pandemic response plan in 2014.  It had 4 objectives that you can see in the list below.

  1. Control the spread of disease and reduce illness and death by providing access to appropriate prevention measures, care and treatment.
  2. Mitigate social disruption by ensuring continuity and recovery of critical services.
  3. Minimize adverse economic impacts.
  4. Support an efficient and effective recovery.

When the premiers ran away and hid their chief medical officers threw out this plan.  They had their hammer and they clearly saw their nail.  The plan became very simple it had one objective.

  1. No one is ever allowed to get sick; no matter what the cost.

Not only was this a poor plan because it failed to address the larger picture, it was also completely unattainable.  They set a goal that was impossible to achieve and they had no idea how to even get close.  What resulted was rules that made no sense that changed on a whim.  I said at the beginning of this whole farce that if my company handled an emergency by shooting from the hip and ignoring our approved emergency response plan the government would shut us down.  The same people who have no idea how to handle a crisis sit in judgment of how well I handle a crisis.

The total lack of courage (and common sense) by all of the Canada’s politicians has left us where we are now.  The rules change weekly and the reason we are given is that the old rules did not produce the desired result.  This is hardly surprising when the desired result is impossible.  Every week our politicians tell us we need to do even more of what has already not worked.  They are too stupid to understand that this inspires absolutely no confidence.  The lack of confidence fuels panic which leads to demands for even more harsh measures.  The average person does not realize it but they are not afraid of the virus, they are afraid the people in charge are as incompetent as they appear.

This “crisis” is a crisis of confidence.  The general public will never let this be over until that confidence is restored.  We could get down to one new case a week with no deaths and people will still live in fear of the “third wave”.  In Sweden they clearly stated their primary goal of minimizing (not eliminating) the impact of the virus with some simple common sense rules.  They have stuck to the plan and the public has not lost faith or panicked.  On a per capita basis Sweden has had twice as many deaths as Canada but they have no masked covidiots screaming at people for standing too close or not wearing a mask.

The Swedish public understands and agrees with the plan.  They know that people will get sick and they also know that is inevitable no matter what they do.  The Swedes are behaving like adults while Canadians are behaving like frightened children.  Maybe that is because the Swedish government treats people like adults and the Canadian government treats people like children.

This gets us to the colonel’s final point.  Covid 19 should have been ridiculously easy to handle.  We have known since March that covid 19 was only a risk for elderly people managing chronic health conditions.  That should have allowed us to focus our efforts.  Instead of focusing on the 0.4% who were at risk we tried to protect everyone.  When you cannot focus your efforts you will only achieve success through sheer luck.  Our plan is the equivalent of going to Vegas and randomly putting money on every table in the hopes of coming home rich.

If you set a goal that cannot be achieved or you define your goal poorly how do you know when the crisis is over?