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Contingency plan
Date: 17 mars 2020

Coronavirus:
Reflection on hypothetical contexts

In hypothetical contexts, different thought can be applied in the initiative to solve some of the most complex problems. It may be normal that some of these initiatives may not receive the maximum social acceptability. However, given certain situations, we could perhaps no longer be at the stage of a political approach but simply and directly imposin emergency measures of great caliber in order to save thousands or even millions of lives.

Certain hypotheses are more likely to succeed than anything that could have been undertaken before. For some of them, it may well be that our society is simply not ready. Some of the situations we have to resolve may well have appeared as far as 100 years ago in a society that is very much different today. As part of all the management related to it, our society tries to be politically correct at practically all levels and mitigates what could be a viable solution.

The World Health Organization (WHO) hesitated for a long time before declaring the Coronavirus a pandemic. We had the impression of fear of the side effects on our economy that such a declaration could have had. Having been declared rather, we would surely have obtained better awareness of the situation in a more opportune moment. It may have seemed a little abnormal to find that several countries as well as their states and provinces declare states of emergency even before the WHO declares the situation as a pandemic. This management redefined the definition of pandemic status; originally defined as the death of people linked to a virus on more than one continent.

The fact that government entities linked to the situation tried to convince the population that the situation was under control, that there was no community spread and to practically try to blame the people at the source of different propagations put us on a very bad start. This has never been under the control of anyone, at least not in the context of the present situation. Efforts must be concentrated on preparedness of what is coming and not on the past which cannot be changed.

The fact of having reduced the importance of the situation affected the confidence of the population; one of the reasons why we have gaps in several aspects related to the situation. Statements that this situation would be gone in 15 days, that the risk was low and that there was no danger of community spreads could have been avoided. Moreover, we have recursively witnessed contradictions between the assertions of our political leaders and those of our health care system.

The problems extende to several other sectors. We have several businesses who do not respect the situation. Our governments are demanding that all essential services be shut down. However, businesses selling alcohol and cannabis remain open. How can we regain this element of confidence in our political representatives if they are not the first to lead by example?

The virus spreads simply because society continues to do business as usual. It's as simple as that. We receive the perception that this situation is uncontrollable in the hope that it improves by itself instead of facing it head on.

Many of us may be tempted to think that we have passed the milestone where this should no longer be a matter for the political sector. Perhaps we should delegate part of the prioritization of the management to entities that have contingency plans to save our planet in such crisis. Where were we to think that a request for voluntarism asking people to stay at home would have worked? We have people coming back from travel who are going to public places, gatherings of thousands of people who party on the beaches of Florida and people who justify unnecessary moves justifying that they feel good and that they are not infected with the virus; all done without regard for social distancing. Proof of ignorance, they are probably not aware that they can be infected with the virus and transmit it without having symptoms for 14 days. I really wonder where these people were for the past two months for not being aware of such an important fact.

We might then think that it might be time to delegate this management power to the military. Do we really think that the population would walk around like that, showing no responsibility and respect for the situation if martial law was in effect? One thing is certain, the situation would be taken seriously. Current containment measures do not work because we have given people a choice to do so voluntarily, because management differs from place to place, because it is in the human nature to be reluctant to change. We have reached the stage where we should perhaps now impose these measures.

We hear predictions that this situation could persist for up to 18 months. Should we start considering a well-established strategic plan, managed and controlled by the venue of martial law so to reduce this timetable considerably? We may need a full lockdown. We should perhaps announce the venue of a plan which would include, among other things, a period of approximately 15 days of preparation so that the population can prepare for a period of mandatory confinement of approximately 30 days. We would therefore have enough time to stock up on food and medicine and to raise awareness. For hospitals and nursing homes, we could prepare a plan so that some employees remain there during the confinement period with the necessary infrastructure so that they can sleep and live at work in order to continue to support the system while reducing the virus spread risk to zero since there would be no more displacement. The only vehicles that would circulate would be those of the army and emergencies. After the preparation period, everything would therefore be closed for the introduction of a period of containment under military control. All businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, gas stations, garages and building materials store would therefore be closed as well. This monthly quarantine period would allow the response of emergency calls from people developing severe symptoms at home and to ensure that, at the end, we would have a healthy society.

We understand that martial law is a federal concept. This means that as long as the recovery success rate is not achieved for all the countries that the borders would remain completely closed.

This situation brings us new terminologies on a daily basis such as the desire to flatten the curve in the hope of obtaining good will from the population to respect the social distancing. This has failed considerably so far because we have asked the people for something instead of imposing it. Perhaps we should think a little further than anything that has been designed and thought so far. We need innovation, control and the application of extreme measures to cope with an extreme situation. Finally, maybe we should fight evil with evil. Ultimately, our society could then recover much more quickly than if each municipal, regional, provincial, federal and international entity continues to stand apart. Should we really consider such a plan which could restore our society and our economy in a matter of weeks and be a precursor of a new futuristic vision to deal with potential related situations in the future?

Michel Fournier