Seven reasons why we fail right now

We all keep watch of the current developments unfolding. I guess it is clear to most people by now that it does not look good. While many efforts are currently being made, I believe we still have a long way to go until we will get the numbers down. There are many reasons why we fail right now, and I hope we get these and the others problems we currently face into focus, which would be essential to get the numbers down. These are just my observations, and many might focus on other points. So take these suggestions with a grain of salt.

1) Most people do not understand the rules. The state and the media widely fail to explain the rules so that people are actually enabled to follow them. For instance are many rules in Germany right now related to the 7 day incidence, which indicates how many people were infected during the last 7 days. Most people do not get this index. Another example is the rule that you can only meet a total of 10 people form 2 households. Most people I asked think that you can meet 10 people today, and can meet another pack of 10 people tomorrow. This is not how the rule is intended, since i would argue that the higher rule is to meet as few people as possible. Meeting this many people makes only sense if it is documented, so that cases could be traced. As long as the rules are not understandable, we will continue to fail. More communication is need, or else stricter rules will fix the problem.

2) We do not acknowledge the emotional state of most of the people. Many people are shocked, and unstable. While this does not help, it is still a fact that is hardly addressed. We need to get a clearer debate of where everybody is at, and establish clearer safety nets to help people stay afloat. Otherwise people will break the rules, because they suffer too strongly in their misery of feeling isolated.

3) There is no such things as a zero risk. Many people constantly calculate their risk right now. Masks help. Regularly opening a window. Distance. Hand washing. All this helps, it is true. It minimises your risk. But it does not change the fact that your risk cannot be and will not be zero. You still have a risk, and people will keep rationalising this risk. More information would be needed, because the current development shows that the current rules are seemingly not enough.

4) We have no clear time line. Ok, yes, it is unclear how it is going to be in 6 months. However, there are experts that have a good understanding of what is going to happen. The next weeks are very clear. The next two months are fairly clear. And a lot can be said about the next six months. However, different experts and actors (there is often a difference) communicate different futures. We do need a larger debate to harmonise these predictions and scenarios. Otherwise it will only increase the insecurities and confusion.

5) It may get worse. Frost is at our doorstep, and as a father I know that this is sick season for many people with little kids, and this may propel to others. A wave of colds could camouflage the crisis, and the flu might amplify it. We should be aware that we are not out of the woods. This is unclarity that adds to the equation, and the emotional impact if it happens could be severe.

6) We need to talk about inequality. This crisis is like the great amplifier of all inequalities we face since a long time, and it also created new inequalities. Much of the frustration and fear we face is rooted in these inequalities. We need to start to discuss these, and fast. Otherwise it will not only make these inequalities worse, but also potentially the pandemic.

7) Stigmatisation may make the problem worse. More and more people get infected. People that we know may get infected. Beside illness and medical danger there is a high chance that these people may feel stigmatised. This may make them hide their disease if they show no symptoms, retreat from their friends to avoid judgement, or lead to other behaviour that can be bad for the pandemic, but also bad for their mental health. We need to acknowledge that under the current situation judgement will not bring us in anyway forward if someone is infected. Instead we need to support this person the best we can.

These are just some points I observed over the last days, and there are certainly more. I just wanted to raise awareness on thee issues, and hope that it can be a small contribution to the current debate. Thank you very much.