We Need Leadership
to Win the COVID-19 War
Leaders inspire others to do the right things. They develop strategies and process to achieve their vision. Leadership is about mapping out where we need to go to “win.” We need leaders in this pandemic who can motivate and organize communities to minimize casualties and deaths
Vision and Direction
It is unclear, from all press conferences, reports and interviews, that our federal leaders have a clear direction for COVID-19. Our lack a coherent national vision is leaving states and other nations adrift. COVID-19 is not Chinese or American. COVID-19 know no borders. We are witnessing a calamity of international and national proportions. The world needs America’s leadership more than ever. This is no time to hesitate and wait.
Who Will Lead US?
America is built on the backs of courageous people. Every day we see more governors step up and lead like Cuomo, Newsome and Inslee. As this crisis deepens, more brave leaders from healthcare, law enforcement and government services are coming forward. Leadership is dynamic. With each passing day we learn of local efforts to make PPE, companies stepping up by retooling factories making the needed equipment to support our front line.
Leaders Working Together
Novel COVID-19 is once in a life-time occurrence. There is no single route and no single direction to overcome it, We need evidence and collaboration between all states and countries. Citizens of different states, particularly the adjacent ones, interact with each other even in times of isolation or quarantine. Lastly limiting mobility surely will impact economies, societies, businesses, and human relationships of all kinds.
Leadership Across the Globe
There are lessons to learn from other countries in this pandemic. Did you know that South Korea, Taiwan and Japan that had their first reported COVID-19 case at the same time as USA? Asian leadership put strict measures in place to contain the virus. In these countries, new cases have steadily decreased. This contrasts the steep increase in confirmed new cases in the US. The differences is nationally enforced strict control measures to limit COVID-19 spread in Asia. Also, Japan had counted on strict border control to decrease case importation from heavily infected areas.
As of March 21, South Korea has 8961 cases (new 64) Japan has 1128 (new 27), Taiwan has 195 (new 26) and the US with 43,469 (new 9903 some are due to testing backlog). And today, 3/29/20, South Korea 9688 (new 105), Japan has 1693 (zero new cases), Taiwan with 298 (new 15) and the US has 126,386 (new 1404). In the USA, the number of cases have tripled in one week!.
Public Health Battle Plan
1. Set the tone for control efforts including
- Diagnosis of cases of COVID-19 before becoming severe or die
- Increasing the supply of and access to reliable test kits
- Isolating cases and individuals suspected of having been infected
- Increasing access to treatment facilities (including ICU’s and hospitals)
- Mobilizing National resources (military) to assist hard-hit communities and States with logistical support to build capacity
- Supporting speedy drug trials and experiments
2. Immediately appoint a national public health leadership team
- Immediately appoint a National Public Health leadership team
- Emergency declarations MUST carefully be associated with the right community measures to limit the spread
3. Anticipate, assess and respond to the states’ needs
4. Speed up the process of vaccine development, supply and distribution
Leadership Can Rally the Troops
We need action NOW. COVID-19 is a large scale 9/11 impacting all sectors of the economy and every facet of life. Leaders should make fact-based decisions that support and save lives. This virus has no country and it belongs to no party. Lastly, we cannot simply ignore it. Ignorance and lack of leadership is more dangerous than the virus itself.
Dr. Osman Ahmed is a physician, epidemiologist, public & population health expert