Yet Another Lockdown

We are living in an alternate reality. 10 months into this pandemic and it seems that we are no further ahead. Shut everything down. Lock everyone up.

At times I think I am living in a really bad apocalypse movie with no ending in sight.

Day after day. Week after week. Month after month.

This lockdown for Ontario has been telegraphed for weeks. It was never a question of “if” but only “when”.

Yesterday, the Premier of Ontario said the following:

This difficult action [the lockdown] is without a doubt necessary to save lives and prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed in the coming weeks. Make no mistake, thousands of lives are at stake right now. If we fail to action now, the consequences could be catastrophic.

Except that despite thousands of lives being at stake, the lockdown won’t go into effect until the day after Christmas. Five days from the date of the announcement.

Such bizarre logic.

Why do government leaders make stupid decisions? Why are government officials so inept?

Holding a high office in government means that the incumbent is in a position to make important decisions. And those decisions are magnified. In the case of a lockdown, such a decision has a tremendous impact on the lives of millions of people.

When a leader makes a bad decision, everyone knows about it.

I could link to hundreds of articles and editorials bemoaning the decision to delay the lockdown until after Christmas. I could link to hundreds of articles and editorials highlighting the chronic underfunding of our health care system that has led us to this point. A health care system so fragile that even a few thousand COVID-19 cases requiring hospitalization can bring the entire system to its knees. Overwhelming our health care resources would cause unnecessary death and suffering, not just to those that experience severe COVID-19 symptoms, but to those that are battling cancer, strokes, accident injuries and on and on.

Protecting the health care system has forced the government to restrict civil liberties.

I empathize with government leaders to a point.

In the corporate world that I came from, we worked within very complex systems. There were many challenges we faced when making important decisions.

The first and most obvious was an unstable environment. It is one thing to make a decision when an environment is in equilibrium. It is quite another when the environment is constantly in a state of chaos.

With so many interdependent variables, complexity will increase the potential for unintended and problematic outcomes. Changing one thing can have an unexpected impact on something else. And the variables themselves change over time creating further unexpected indirect effects.

Getting people to respond effectively to significant changes in direction was another major challenge. Managing change is difficult. Managing highly disruptive change? Some might say nearly impossible when the stakes are high. An organization might need to enter survival mode and impose severe, even draconian tactics in response to a dire situation.

Seems like the Ontario government is at a similar point especially given that the survival of individuals is literally at stake.

Government actions can have a profound impact on the lives of all people. If Apple decides to make a bad product, I don’t have to buy it. Little to no impact on my life. If the Canadian government decides to make reckless economic policies, all Canadians bear the direct impact of stupid policy decisions.

If a government fails to act appropriately in a public health care crisis, lives of citizens are undeniably at stake.

Lord knows this pandemic has seen its fair share of stupid decisions by government officials. More to come unfortunately.

At times I feel so hopeless and lost that I get mired in depression.

And I know that I am not alone.

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