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Coronavirus, Crisis Response and Leadership

Today I want to make a reflection that goes beyond my candidacy or desire to serve as the Broward’s Sheriff. I want to refer to the importance of genuine leadership. The implementation of disciplined and intelligent communication systems to face crises that can cause enormous damage must be considered as a fundamental part of public protection and security.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) started as a mere nuisance but quickly transformed into the world’s worst health crisis. In some ways, the pandemic is comparable to the multi-level disaster of September 11, 2001. An immediate emergency response and proper management of the socio-economic consequences are of vital importance.

The world scientific community recognizes the unique danger of the coronavirus’ abnormally high contagiousness. When compared to other pandemics, the mortality rate is also much higher.  The alarming reason for concern is that the deaths have been caused by the inability to provide assistance to those affected who urgently needed an intensive treatment unit and an artificial respirator.

In other words, a lack of leadership, international collaboration and communication in preparing for a pandemic have us on the brink of facing an unprecedented crisis.  As a result, innocent people could die from lack of beds and respiratory equipment in our hospitals.

I think many people are wondering how this can be possible in a developed country that prides itself on being “the world power in economics, science and progress of all kinds”. The current situation regarding coronavirus in our country is the result of the absence of planning to respond to crises of great magnitude and severity, the inconsistent message from our President compared to the recommendations of health experts and the arrogance in considering the plans and prevention measures from other countries as viable possibilities to study and implement.

Ironically, other countries with poor national leadership were able to achieve better prevention because of local efforts. Mayors and other local officials adopted better solutions in their districts.

With Broward’s cosmopolitan population, I find it unacceptable to take a simplistic approach and only follow protocol regulations. The global health problem that is affecting our country requires intelligent and visionary solutions.

The federal government took two weeks to make the public aware of the severity and contagiousness of coronavirus. We should make sure we are choosing more experienced local authorities since the country’s senior leadership does not have a global vision.

Ironically, other countries with poor national leadership were able to achieve better prevention because of local efforts.

If Broward residents trust me with the safety and security of the county, in times of contagion-based crisis I would:

– Make sure to implement public test and diagnosis stations, outside hospitals, where people who present clear symptoms of the disease can test and remain in quarantine if positive.

– Regularly maintain in optimal conditions all special protection equipment in the event that our police and emergency personnel must respond to an incident involving someone suffering from the disease.

– Install a sterilization and detoxification station where emergency personnel can feel safe to return to their families without risk of spreading the disease unintentionally.

– Give direct information to the homeless so they know where to receive adequate health care at no cost.

– Close the beaches and coordinate with the reservations to close the casinos.