Sunday, April 26, 2020

Looking for the EXIT

Every nation that has enacted a form of mass quarantine did so on the basis of a set of calculations, often extremely rushed, encompassing scientific, economic and political criteria.

There were some known unknowns to be anxious about at the time. A proportion of those have since morphed into known knowns, but a reservoir of unknown unknowns has been steadily replenishing the known unknown pool in the meantime. 

Some of the most important known unknowns should really have been known knowns, we just didn't know it at the time.

We still have many of the same scientific, economic and political models to guide our exit strategies, yet the truth is that the totality of both our knowledge and our ignorance has shifted significantly, compounding the prevailing effect of harder-to-budge inertia that comes with living under lockdown. 

Going into this we all had Italy with its mortifying viral and mortality load (and then its overspilling hospitals) to follow somewhat like lemmings, so I guess what we now need is a sort of anti-Italy to follow out in an equally lemming-like fashion. 

However, the path out of calamity is more complex and tailored to locations and cultures than the far simpler call to action of imminent emergency and the associated risks remain stuck in the grey zone between knowns and unknowns. 

The wider dangers of not doing this in a coordinated fashion are also all too obvious, especially with the world's largest economy and largest source of potential infection, prioritising ignorance over knowledge, and then political, economic and scientific that specific order.

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