Governments and organizations world-wide should be performing a comprehensive lesson’s learned throughout this COVID-19 pandemic.  Documenting and responding to these lessons will help nations move forward through the present health crisis and better respond to the next pandemic. Here are my lessons learned (not necessarily those of all PME Instructors):

Event 1: The Trump Administration failed to respond in a proactive manner to address the possibility of a pandemic.  Even after the National Security Council (NSC) published the 2018 National Biodefense Strategy of the United States[1] they failed to plan and execute against that strategy, especially in the areas of providing personal protective equipment (PPE) in a timely manner.  This proved disastrous to the health of our citizens, front line health care providers, and to the economy as a whole. The need for this proactive approach was called for by the Obama Administration in 2014[2] yet still our present leaders were unprepared.

Lesson Learned/Action Plan: Fund and implement policies, procedures and proactive tactical plans to address the concerns stated in 2018 strategic plan.

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Event 2: The leadership style of President Trump did little to quell the nations concerns nor effectively provide tactical direction and guidance.  This lack of leadership occurred well before the first U.S. death.. “The Trump administration received its first formal notification of the outbreak of the coronavirus in China on Jan. 3. Within days, U.S. spy agencies were signaling the seriousness of the threat to Trump by including a warning about the coronavirus — the first of many — in the President’s Daily Brief.  ….it took 70 days from that initial notification for Trump to treat the coronavirus not as a distant threat or harmless flu strain well under control, but as a lethal force that had outflanked America’s defenses and was poised to kill tens of thousands of citizens”[3]

Once the pandemic was upon us, Trump was defensive, agitated, dismissive and insulting to the media.  Never once did he take any accountability. When attempting to lead, the president was confusing, dishonest, and even belligerent.  I concur with the following leadership comparison I found on social media.

President Trump Governor Cuomo
Confusion abounds Decisive in command
No clear plan, slow to action Communicates clearly
Ill informed, wild conjectures Has concrete plans/goals
Contradicts experts Honest/pulls no punches
Exaggerates and lies Motivates
Self-aggrandizing Empathetic, concerned
Compounds public anxiety Get’s things done

 

Lesson Learned/Action Plan: Governor Cuomo demonstrated a servant leadership style when dealing with his state and guiding his constituents.  Leading with truth, integrity, and empathy is always preferred to leading with contradictions, autocracy and falsehoods.  Our next U.S. president must be a servant leader in that he will lead with moral authority, compassion, collaboration and integrity.

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Event 3: A for-profit medical system that exists in the U.S. is simply not built to handle a massive pandemic. Health care organization must run “lean” to keep costs down and provide exactly what a patient needs at any given time.  A “just in time” inventory concept provides just enough beds, PPE and medical personnel to deal with most everyday requirements.  Our system is simply not built for health emergencies of this magnitude.

Lesson Learned/Action Plan: Health care providers along with federal, state and local governments must be prepared for the next health crisis!  They should consider a universal health care system where stockholders are removed from the formula calculating success and patients are at the center of care.  Cigna claimed $6.5B in profits in 2019[4].  I wonder how much of those profits were spent preparing for a potential pandemic?  A universal health care model would considerably raise taxes but hopefully reduce the per-capita health care costs for everyone.
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[1] https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/National-Biodefense-Strategy.pdf

[2] https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2020/04/10/barack-obama-2014-pandemic-comments-sot-ctn-vpx.cnn

[3] https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2020/04/04/coronavirus-government-dysfunction/?arc404=true
[4] https://www.cigna.com/newsroom/news-releases/2020/cigna-delivers-strong-2019-results-expects-continued-attractive-revenue-and-earnings-growth-in-2020