What do so many countries of the world have in common right now?
Wait for that, I’ll get to it. First, I want to ask you a question. Three months ago, when we were all getting ready to see the New Year in, could any of you conceive in your wildest imagination that medical and health care workers would soon not have basic illness-saving, death-preventing protective equipment to do their job? No, I wouldn’t have either.
In my former career, part of my job was to educate employers and employees about their occupational safety and health responsibilities under law. Did you know it is a principle of law that an employer provides personal protective equipment (PPE) and training in how to wear it?
Get the gravity of the situation.
Globally, right now, there are tens of thousands of employers who cannot — who knowingly won’t — keep their workers safe. Globally, these employers are breaking the law on the largest scale.
We in the western world at least see that as a right, and it is a human right to be protected and kept safe in our work.
If we consider that we’re in a world war against Coronavirus, this national, international and global law-breaking is equivalent in status to war crime on a mass scale when you have health care workers and doctors contracting COVID19 and in some cases dying.
What are politicians doing about this? When hospitals and other care facilities run out of these vital supplies, who is there to bail society out? It’s the government. It’s the government’s role to govern society — to keep it from anarchy.
Genuine question here: do any of you know of any community, state, federal or international leaders bearing responsibility for this horrendous situation — the lack of PPE?
Workers are put at risk and the only reason nobody’s prosecuted is, what do you do, prosecute just about every employer, state, government and leader in the world?
These health care and medical professionals have trained to work safely and now they cannot. And as they’re presented before the risk to be exposed, and then they get exposed, they expose others who may not as yet have contracted the virus. And think about the mental and emotional toll of caring individuals possibly infecting others. There is one example of a nurse taking her own life because of this. Think of the risks caring people will be willing to take in providing care to others — now, without vital protective equipment.
Yet the world watches on and we’re ambivalent toward it. If we’re not directly impacted, we shrug our shoulders. Why?
Then there’s all the rest of the world’s workers who cannot escape close contact with those who could be infected. School teachers for instance. But the list is endless. Are any other occupations provided with the vital PPE of a mask when they must deal with these obvious risks of close human contact? It would be unheard of in many professions to wear masks and other PPE.
Swinging the focus to the leaders who allowed this to happen. All modern governments are blessed, as law makers, with the best academics in every field. All governments have access to the best information, including public health and other sciences, the universities. Almost in unison, the best public health minds are flabbergasted and exasperated by the sheer lack of planning, preparedness, and response. The experts are consulted but not listened to. They are modern day prophets, and you know how prophets are treated. What more warning do world governments need to trigger serious efforts of preparedness? SARS outbreak? Ebola? H1N1 influenza? We’ve had all those. But, if they haven’t come near, “that won’t happen to us.”
Governments across the globe — with few exceptions — have failed us in the attempt to control the COVID19 outbreak. Some governments have listened to their health and medical experts and they are leading their countries toward control. How many countries, however, are betraying the world in letting this virus consume their societies? All because, “it’ll only kill 1 percent of people.” (It’s actually between 2-4 percent.) How dare any of us minimise the lives of people; potentially tens of millions of which will be thrown to their deaths.
What about our planet’s leaders? How many of them are actively continuing to think only of their own interests? This is a time for leadership.
Let’s imagine a leader, who, when probed — notice this — is never wrong. He’s always doing a fabulous job. And anyone who criticises him or his administration is being nasty or mean. He gaslights them in broad daylight. And gets away with it. Every. Single. Time. And the world watches on in incredulity. I know me saying this will offend some of you, but these are his observable behaviours. There’s no disputing it.
Then there are leaders who insist they’ve got things under control when they haven’t. They’re more interested in spinning their narrative than in doing their job.
It’s like this story from England’s NHS. Here are some quotes: “It’s terrifying for staff at the moment. Still no access to personal protective equipment [PPE] or testing.” “Rigid command structures make decision making impossible.” “There’s been no guidelines, it’s chaos.” “I don’t feel safe. I don’t feel protected.” “We are literally making it up as we go along.” “It feels as if we are actively harming patients.” “We need protection and prevention.” “Total carnage.” “NHS Trusts continue to fail miserably.” “Humanitarian crisis.” “Forget lockdown — we are going into meltdown.” “When I was country director in many conflict zones, we had better preparedness.” “The hospitals in London are overwhelmed.” “The public and media are not aware that today we no longer live in a city with a properly functioning western health-care system.” “How will we protect our patients and staff… I am speechless. It is utterly unconscionable. How can we do this? It is criminal… NHS England was not prepared…We feel completely helpless.”
Let’s take a look at some of the common behaviours in leaders and governments — or organisations for that matter — who fail the empathy test, feel entitled to do as they please, and who exploit vast numbers of people at will, as if the populace are pawns.
They don’t apologise, they are never apparently wrong, and also have the track record of never being wrong. How can we trust them? When they continue to exploit their vast populations by letting them go to work completely exposed to infection. How would we sleep at night if that were us?
Governments caused the crisis through the mismanagement of it in its earliest stages.
When will governments begin to take their corporate responsibility for this, confess their negligence, and repent before their people? Remember all I’m focusing on here is the fact that millions of workers across the globe are owed their protective equipment when they’re exposed to a pathogen.
Narcissism at its zenith is set on its own path and on its own terms. It never takes responsibility and is never wrong. It feels it has a right to treat people abysmally. And it absolutely has no empathy.
Quotations within are taken from The Lancet. Published:March 28, 2020 https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30727-3