Some Observations on the COVID-19 Pandemic

[May 17, 2020]  The seriousness of the current COVID-19 pandemic cannot be overlooked.  However, there is a small but building counter-argument that the lockdowns established and enforced by state and local governments may have been an overreach.  Today, I’ll be listing a few observations on the pandemic that are trending from medical, political, and legal organizations.

“The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” – Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States

I begin with this quote from Ronald Reagan because I think it embodies the capabilities and realities of government.  There are those of us who look to the “government” to solve all our problems, provide us with a job, give us a handout when needed, and tell us what to do and not do.  Others, including the Founding Fathers, believed only a small government would provide the most benefit to the United States.  These competing visions of our country have influenced how we see the impact of the COVID-19 virus.

If you get any of the big government types or medical experts to be honest,  I think they will give you a different view:

  1. Despite what is being said, we still don’t know enough about the virus to formulate good, long-term government policies on preventing its spread to uninfected people, developing a vaccine, or decreasing mortality rates.
  2. Early on, the intent of our federal government was to “flatten the curve” and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed by large numbers of patients. We succeeded overwhelmingly – temporarily – but now the problem is too much bed-space and medical staffs are being laid off.
  3. The government cannot solve this pandemic, because it cannot be solved. Like other infectious diseases, the virus must run its course.  This is true even if an effective vaccine were developed tomorrow.
  4. Lots of people are not accessing routine and non-routine health care services. This will have additional negative health consequences.  For example, child vaccinations for known diseases are down significantly.  The result will be increased mortality.
  5. Loss of jobs, family members, and other significant disruptions in family life will increase mortality rates. What that will be, is unknown.
  6. Fear is our greatest weakness; pandemic or not. We will forever not learn this lesson and we will forever suffer for it.
  7. Great nation-state leadership is not needed. But local leadership, provided by communities and those who make up our towns and cities are needed to step up and provide the guidance and assistance people need to get through the pandemic.

We are in the middle of a malaise moment.  This should not be a time of a crisis of confidence (ala U.S. President Jimmy Carter).  Americans don’t need the Oval Office to tell us that we are a strong nation because we already know.  Remove the one-size fits all, mandated, top-down restrictions and let those who live here know that specific behaviors are dangerous and let us go about our lives.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

17 thoughts on “Some Observations on the COVID-19 Pandemic

  1. Kenny Foster

    Very interesting set of observations and clearly laid out too. I would add that the gov’t using military assets was a good decision. However, it reduces the nation’s ability to prevent war and retards the readiness of our military just as China, Russia, and Iran are gearing up their threats to the free world. Want it or not, the US along with is larger allies still protects the entire world from rogue countries or soon-to-be rogue countries.

    1. Scotty Bush

      Yes, well argued. I would only add that Iran has taken a bigger hit from the virus than they will ever admit (typical socialist mindset) and thus are holding back at the moment. Add to that Israel has hammered Iran’s allies in Syria and elsewhere and Iran is now taking a backseat with their worldwide terror campaign.

      1. Doc Blackshear

        All we have to fear is fear itself, so be prepared to wage war and you will never be disappointed.

  2. Jane Fillmore

    I’m a fan of yours, Gen. Satterfield. Today’s article is on a topic we all want to hear about and are curious what is going on. This forum plus your articles are what helps me get thru the day.

  3. Max Foster

    The main point, I believe, that Gen. Satterfield is making here is that we still don’t know enough about this virus to set major, life-altering policies in place. The ramifications and unintended consequences will be really big. Be careful what we do to stop the virus because we cannot stop the virus.

    1. Deplorable John

      …. and the sooner we get this, the more likely we can go about our lives and not have it ruined by a gov’t bureaucrat who never held a job outside gov’t.

  4. Joe Omerrod

    I like it. Govt truly cannot fix something not fixable. At our current medical status, knowledge, and tech innovations we cannot cure all diseases. This is one of them. Viruses are notoriously difficult. I don’t have a Chrystal ball but I do think this virus will be with us for a long long time. Trying to say otherwise just makes us look stupid.

    1. Lynn Pitts

      Hi Joe, what are the docs in your hospital saying?

      1. Joe Omerrod

        Bottom line — the pandemic will just have to burn itself out. We also need to be upfront with our citizens that this is how ALL pandemics get resolved. Until we are immune, the virus will spread throughout the world. Simple rule of all great pandemics. Nothing changes.

      2. Lynn Pitts

        Yes, thank you Joe for your bit of looking inward to the med community for us.

  5. Watson Bell

    Hi Gen. Satterfield, just logging in quickly today to see what you wrote and pow, you hit this ball high. Congrats on getting the main points in that most of us are ‘thinking’ but not ‘saying.’ I guess we are too PC or too fearful to speak up.

    1. Ed Berkmeister

      Hi Watson, we haven’t heard from you in a while. I hear you’ve been rather busy with this whole COVID19 pandemic going on and all. Hope you and your family are getting along without any big problems. 😊


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