Even in COVID-19 there must be balanceFriday, March 26, 2021
One of the hardest things about being a leader is that, even without complete data, facts or experience, most will assume they can do a better job at leading than you.
The head that wears the crown is not just unsteady, but is often seen as devoid of proper ideas by those it leads. Many will say, however, that this comes with the territory.
This is not to say that a people should not criticise its Government, absolutely not. The ability to criticise our leaders is at the very foundation on which democracy is built. However, we must arm ourselves with the facts, so as to ensure that our criticisms provide a firm foundation for improvement.
Unfortunately, though, many of the criticisms on our management of the pandemic have been void of that type of informed criticism.
Many argue that we are failing in the management of COVID-19. This they conclude from a cursory look at the rising infection rate and deaths. Whereas I accept that the management is not perfect, let us examine that criticism.
Firstly, it is problematic to make such an assumption solely on that variable. As new variants increase transmission, and citizens continue to disregard the protocols, increase in the number of cases is inevitable and is being experienced by countries globally. What must be asked, then, is whether or not the rate of increase is in line with proper management. In other words, would the situation be worse without the current measures?
A look at countries with a similar population size (2.7 million to 3 million) provides a glimpse of an answer. Of all the countries in that population bracket, Jamaica has the third-lowest incidence of death and infection, behind Qatar and Mongolia. It must be highlighted that Qatar's population is slightly smaller than Jamaica's and Mongolia is the least densely populated country in the world with 1.9 people per sq km compared to Jamaica that has 273 people per sq km of land space. If these statistics are to be believed, Jamaica's management is doing very well.
Many are also of the view that because there is data that indicates that a majority of residents contract the virus at or while commuting to work, the Government should put mandatory work-from-home orders in place. However, that is a single piece of data and, at any given time, the Government must analyse multiple pieces of data before making a decision. Work-from-home orders do not just affect you; they affect the taxi man who will have less business, the vendor, and even the youth at the traffic light who sells his fruits, bag juice and sodas from his little igloo. The Government has to ensure that all pieces of data interact to bring balance, lest the country collapses.
In order to balance that, they implemented work-from-home arrangements in the public sector, while encouraging private sector companies to utilise same where possible. This, in part, served to ensure that people do not starve and we do not trade one crisis for another; balance. Balance is one of the hardest yet most critical things to achieve in government, and I believe the Government has been doing a commendable job in that department.
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