WHEN something is not working as you planned, there are two things you can do.
One is to continue hammering away, proceed with the plan and hope it works out in the end. The alternative is to adapt. Recognise what isn’t working and change accordingly.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis needed to adapt his plan to lockdown the country from tonight through to next Tuesday morning.
The reason was clear. Look through the pages of The Tribune today and you’ll see the images of Bahamians standing in long lines at stores trying to stock up ahead of the lockdown was exactly what wasn’t needed in the middle of this pandemic. After all the efforts to isolate and contain the virus, this was offering it a feeding ground.
A more stubborn leader might have persisted with the plan regardless, but having seen the problem, Dr Minnis decided to change tack. Adapt.
His decision to take all the essential workers out of those queues and give them extra time on Thursday to shop achieves two things – it reduces the size of queues right now, and also reduces the risk of those essential workers being exposed to the virus.
For healthcare workers most of all we need to strive to find ways of keeping them safe and healthy, but that word essential means what it says – those workers are there to keep the nation running or keep the nation informed.
Some of those workers are members of the media, who will continue to report through the lockdown to let people know what is happening across the country. You can follow updates on tribune242.com.
Those changes will take people out of the queues now, but that’s not to encourage people to go out now – the shorter those queues are, the better for all of us. If you can get by over the lockdown without going shopping, then make do. Only go if you have to. The fewer who go, the less chance it gives the virus to spread.
There were horrifying scenes at some locations yesterday, with people bunched up far too close. Everyone must have heard by now how important it is to keep your distance, but this really is a matter of life and death.
You don’t have to look far for the horror stories elsewhere. Of overwhelmed medical services trying to deal with patients. One nurse spoke on Twitter this week of the moment when she realised all the code carts – the carts containing all the materials, drugs and devices necessary to treat someone whose heart is stopping – were in use.
That’s what we’re trying to avoid.
So just as the prime minister has adapted his plan to suit the situation, so too must we adapt our behaviour to help the plan to work.
The Prime Minister openly asked for ideas – so let’s provide them. Let’s hear reader’s suggestions for how to improve things.
Some are already being inventive. We tip our hats to the Golden Gates Super Value team who came up with a number system that allowed people to go home and come back when their number was ready, rather than standing in a line with others.
What other ideas can we come up with? Could some of the stores put together an essential pack of food that people could buy without having to go through the store. A box of just enough to get through the lockdown period that could just be picked up drive-through style?
It’s up to us – all of us – to get through this. The sooner we can get past the infection, the sooner we can look at the economic problem, reinforced yesterday with news of job losses at Cable Bahamas and John Bull.
So think hard, Bahamas. Think of what each of us can do, even if that is simply to stay home. We must adapt, and that way we can overcome.