COVID-19 has caused huge disruptions to the way we live our lives. However, everything will eventually get to some normality again. But it will be a new norm.
In the months and years ahead, we will feel the effects of COVID-19. Movies will be made, villains will be identified, heroes will be celebrated. In the light of day, we will be able to see what we did badly, what we could have done better, and what were the hero acts to inspire.
Just like all events throughout history, once the dust settles, we will have the opportunity to determine what we could have done better. Even now, it’s time to take stock. We can take advantage of some lessons learnt and allow contributions from people at large. It also gives me the chance to formulate some of my own thinking about the events over the past few months and how data and technology are shaping the direction and communication pertaining to the pandemic.
I’ll be posting these insights regularly with the first shown below. Data is pivotal in all of the lessons presented. They are brief and personal views. Feel free to comment and contribute. I am expecting differences of opinion. Some of the topics are somewhat controversial. Some lessons learnt are however plainly obvious.
In this somewhat unregulated social media environment, rumours spread (pardon the pun) all of the time. Separating the wheat from the chaff is a challenge for most governments and medical authorities.
Dr. Li Wenliang posted his alert on the Chinese App WeChat with negative consequences to him and his family, even though in hindsight this was the right thing to do.
Why did the onus fall on Dr. Li Wenliang? Shouldn’t the responsibility of such outbreaks fall on health authorities throughout the world? To limit rumours and communication anarchy, announcements of threatening viruses/diseases must come from responsible health authorities nominated by each government. Unfortunately, the World Health Organisation failed in its role due to politics and bureaucracy.
When it comes to human health there are no “alternative facts”. Nations need to agree (unanimously):
Diseases like this and others, render borders and boundaries impotent. Counties need to set aside all differences to reach resolutions quicker, using all and available data. Together, identify the risky diseases, look at the various solutions and options and considered actions. For diseases like COVID-19 the world needs to think and agree globally but act locally. When it comes to human health, we must work swiftly and together to deal with outbreaks like the COVID-19. Be fast, have no regrets.