Covid -19: We Are Only As Strong As Out Weakest Link

Mar 19, 2020 by

Tom Watkins

As I shelter in place – going out only for food, medicines, or to help a neighbor – I am touched by the positive stories I hear and see about neighbors, family, and friends helping each other in this time of anxiety and crisis.

Daily, we are hearing positive messages about simple acts of kindness like wealthy professional athletes who have stepped up and donated money to help provide some level of economic security to sporting venue ushers, food service workers, and ticket takers. A sense of bi-partisan action is being felt our nation’s Capital among lawmakers to help provide human assistance – not only for the nation’s physical but economic health as the coronavirus explodes exponentially infecting segments across the entire county.

My spirits are uplifted on hearing stories close to home and in Washington knowing that we are all in this crisis together. 

Covid-19 is a reminder that we are only as strong as our weakest link. 

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That is why my optimism turned sour as I also watched waffling, indecision, and downright stupid decisions being made at a time when we need decisive leadership at the national level.

It sure seems like pure human selfishness and stupidity – both on the part of the Governor of Florida and on the part of the young people there— at least the adults should know better! Florida’s governor refuses to shut down beaches amid the spread of the coronavirus. Public health officials and the President have been imploring people to practice social distancing, not congregate in large groups. Yet the bars in Florida and elsewhere  are jam-packed, beaches plastered with tourists – as though nothing has changed, when EVERYTHING has changed.

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If we are to address and beat down this coronavirus, it seems that we need an immediate, enforced, mandatory national shelter-in-place order. You are not allowed to be out unless it is to seek food, medicine or medical care – PERIOD!

Our current rolling plea for people to act responsibly is apparently not working. It is past time for leaders to act and mandate a shelter in place order. Enforce it! NOT a city by city, country by county, or state by state decision:  this virus knows no political boundaries. Hopefully, it is not too late for this strategy to help flatten the growth of this virus.

If we don’t act now, the consequences could be deadly, especially to the most vulnerable among us!

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As the old nursery rhyme, Dry Bones reminds us, the foot bone IS connected to the ankle bone -a metaphor for events that are playing out today on the global stage: we are all inter-connected.

It is also time to stop the international geopolitical games. President Trump’s political game of chicken with China is not helpful, calling the pandemic “the China Virus.” This is merely shaming and blaming.

China is not absolved either – they are also playing a blame game. It is past time for both to stop. The world is grappling with a pandemic while the top two most powerful nations play a blame game to gin up nationalism – and in the U.S., votes.

NOT helpful

Both leaders, in attempting to shift blame for their respective nations, are only managing to slow the response to fight this deadly disease. This tit-for-tat, game of see-saw, where one nation must be up while the other is down, does not help humanity. Stoking xenophobia, spreading disinformation and trumped up rumors – at any time is unhelpful. Now is the time for all earthly nations to come together and fight this common global threat. 

President Trump Xi needs to be communicating daily about partnering and collaborating in cooperation with other nations to beat this international scourge. Besides the illness and death that this disease is causing, it has also unleashed a global economic pandemic that could tumble into a global depression. Global economic markets are in free fall with the U.S. stock market having its largest drop in a single day. The economic gains realized over the past 3 years that have lifted all nations have been wiped out— and it could get worse. 

Being angry at China does nothing to keep families safe or healthy. It is important to be diligent in combatting any form of xenophobia. When it does, treat it as a whack-a-mole. 

As the largest and second largest world economies, leaders of both nations should be seeking ways to work together to address both the public health as well as the global economic pandemics hurting Americans, Chinese, and the rest of the word. Collaboration and cooperation produce far greater results – certainly more so than blame and finger pointing. Now is the time for leaders to rally the world and collaborate in combating this global scourge.

This Is Not A Hoax

Those who are not taking the coronavirus seriously threaten the health and safety of the world we have come to know and love. 

Thomas Freidman, author of the World is Flat writes powerfully about how this pandemic could flatten America if we don’t take on a war-like posture to fight this virus.  He writes, “The power of exponentials: One of the hardest things for the human mind to grasp is the power of an exponential — something that just keeps relentlessly doubling and doubling, like a pandemic. The brain just can’t appreciate how quickly 5,000 cases of confirmed coronavirus infection in America can explode into one million if we don’t lock down now.”

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Humans are at war with an invisible enemy and as the comic strip Pogo reminds us, “We have met the enemy and it is us.” FDR also reminded us that “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”

We ought to be very afraid. Afraid enough that we don’t acknowledge the danger of losing this pandemic war now?

It is past time for American leaders – Democrats, Republicans, President Trump, the Democratic Presidential candidates, Senate Majority Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, and Minority Leader Schumer – to join hands and ask Americans to make sacrifices to help win the virus war. 

Survival is a great motivator – it time to join and fight this war without bombs.

A loss will be hard to fathom. Yet lose we will unless we get deadly serious about doing all we can do to win. 

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