Kate Hawkesby: My advice to the government - shut everything down

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Thu, 19 Mar 2020, 12:16PM
Photo / NZ Herald

Kate Hawkesby: My advice to the government - shut everything down

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Thu, 19 Mar 2020, 12:16PM

Shut it down.

The government's taking a lot of advice at the moment, that's mine.

Shut everything down.

Every other country in the world has locked stuff down, and the lesson is.. to break the cycle of this spread we need to act sooner rather than later. The W-H-O said this week, that “speed trumps perfection.”

The W-H-O’s Dr Michael Ryan said, “be fast, have no regrets. You must be the first mover. The virus will always get you if you don’t move quickly, if you need to be right before you move, you will never win.”

And that’s my fear.

We are waiting on too many experts, too many charts, too many models of what other countries may or may not be doing, too many examples of countries that bear no relevance to ours. Copying what Taiwan is doing, should not be our guiding light here. It's apples and oranges. Waiting for committee boffins who clock in to check spreadsheets, is wasting precious time.

Strong leadership takes guts – and gut instinct.

Shut it down.

The workplaces, the bars, the restaurants, the malls, the borders, the schools.

Yes the schools.

Look at the contact and potential spread of one student at the High School in Dunedin.

150 people have been traced as being in close enough proximity to him to warrant testing.

That’s the power and density of school spread.

If you think a cruise ship’s a petrie dish, look at the schools.

We’ll ban events of over 500 people, and even that's likely to come down today to about 100.. but we’ll leave schools with 500, even 1000 students on the roll, open. It makes no sense.

Yes it hurts, and people don’t like it, and there are arguments against, many are valid too.. but why take the risk?

Close the borders.

As the W-H-O says, if you have to wait for perfection, you’ve lost. Just act. If we’re wrong, at least lives were saved.

“Perfection is the enemy of the good when it comes to emergency management,” the W-H-O's Dr Ryan says.

That’s a man whose spent 20 years at the forefront of acute crisis response.

Why aren’t we listening to him?

“Speed trumps perfection.” He said.

Shut it all down.

Doesn’t mean we need to panic, just means we need to act.

And sooner rather than later.