'One size fits all' simply doesn’t work

Let’s move away from a 'one size fits all' totalitarian public health policy to a national COVID19 Exist Strategy based on risk mitigation according to health profiles and targeted COVID19 counter measures


By Kevin-James Fenech

Kevin is the founder and owner of JOB Search - jobsearch.mt and FENCI Consulting fenci.eu.

As the ‘spike’ in COVID19 infections hits the headlines, hysteria takes over and the COVID19 doomsayers feed the press/media a one-sided narrative that seeks to destroy the ‘balanced approach’.

Distressingly, right now, you simply can’t be in favour of the ‘balanced approach’. Apparently, you must resign yourself to a totalitarian ‘one-size fits all’ approach where the public health dictatorship is sovereign and COVID19 is the only important priority for this country.

Admittedly, the public opinion doesn’t help us, since the people were so brainwashed during March and April that this national psychological trauma has left most people terrified of a sneeze or a cough. As a result, we are not allowed to engage in critical thinking, to challenge the medical community on the best way forward or to suggest an alternative more balanced approach.

The result of all this is that we are, sadly, having the wrong argument amongst ourselves and missing the wood from the trees. Mass hysteria has set in and COVID19 rules.

Fact: Malta is an economy that depends on open trade, tourism and economic stability. Therefore, lockdowns, partial lockdowns and/or public health totalitarianism disrupts business, injects uncertainty everywhere and stalls economic recovery.

Debates and arguments are healthy and we should always encourage them in a democratic framework. Unfortunately, though, we are having the wrong argument fuelled by COVID hysteria and (worse) dogma! It feels like the 1960s all over again with religion cutting across political allegiances and splitting families right down the middle, except now COVID is the protagonist.

We quote ‘Total Number of Infections’ (every day)! Why? What value does that number have? Wouldn’t it make more sense to look at the number of people needing hospital treatment or intensive care support as a percentage of total COVID19 infections?

We keep mentioning ‘The Second Wave’. Why? Isn’t the virus here to stay. Shouldn’t we be thinking of getting back to normal life and simply mitigating for all COVID risks rather than thinking of shutting ourselves in an air raid shelter until the bombing ends. We are literally thinking like our second world war forefathers, when in reality COVID19 is like acid rain or HIV and our response should be how to mitigate the risk rather than how to stop the virus; since we can not stop it (fact).

We want to restrict peoples’ freedom of movement and physical contact irrespective of age and/or health profile. Why? The truth is that different people have different risk profiles; someone suffering from diabetes, hypertension or obesity is different from your average healthy Joe. Consequently, we can’t treat everyone in the same way. If, say, you are below the age of 50, fit & healthy and have no underlying medical conditions, you should be able to lead a very normal life both at work and in your personal life. Whereas, if you are 60+ and/or have an underlying medical condition and/or receiving medical treatment for a life threatening illness, clearly the state needs to strongly advise you to take heed of their ‘guidelines’. This is by no means an exhaustive list of examples but you catch my drift. ‘One size fits all’ simply doesn’t work!

My point is that we need to stop trying to impose a single public health totalitarian policy. We need to devise COVID19 counter measures designed according to peoples’ different risk profiles, educate instead of dictate and ban anyone from using the (misleading and sensational) term ‘The Second Wave’ since it has put the fear of God into most of us.

Furthermore, the arguments or debates that we should be having as a nation, which are healthy in a democracy, should be based on risk mitigation based on risk profiles and targeted counter COVID measures. At the moment, we are stuck in a type of ‘stop the virus’ mode of thinking which is overly simplistic and preventing us from devising an effective Exit Strategy.

In addition, we need to be monitoring and analysing the right data. Don’t quote us the ‘Total Number of Infections’ but tell us how many of these experience severe symptoms which require hospital treatment or worse ICU treatment since this is more meaningful to decision makers. Furthermore, let’s not be scared of the healthy portion of our population building a natural immunity to the virus like we have done in the past to other viruses. Take care and protect the vulnerable but let the rest of the people mitigate the risks and get on with their normal lives since there are many more things that can kill us, meaning COVID is one of many killers and should be treated like so.

If we manage to do this, we won’t waste precious time and energy arguing amongst ourselves as a divided nation. Since ultimately if we get it wrong and our country falls into an economic recession we will all suffer!

Let’s move away from a ‘one size fits all’ totalitarian public health policy to a national COVID19 Exist Strategy based on risk mitigation according to health profiles and targeted COVID19 counter measures. I pray common sense will prevail.

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