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Covid-19 – Second Wave Prediction – Have We Finally Woken up to Crisis Preparedness?

11 September 2020

In May this year, Security Exchange specialists posted an article relating to crisis preparedness specifically in respect of Covid-19. All articles can be re-read in our on-line library. The main theme of the article was to highlight the importance of collating all information and basing crisis preparedness strategies around the resources available. At the time, observers commented on the fact that despite being made aware of the potential for a pandemic crisis to occur, crisis managers did little to prepare organisations and society in general for the chaotic effects which Covid-19 unleashed across the globe. Criticism was levelled at the UK Government for failing to take on board findings from the much publicised ‘Cygnus’ project. More specifically, the Government and NHS came under intense scrutiny over their ability … ‘to review its response to an overwhelmed service with reduced staff availability’.

One of the valuable attributes of crisis managers and crisis management teams is the ability to learn lessons from a recent crisis event and take appropriate action to ensure that failings are not repeated in the future.  It is true to say that every one of us has been affected in some way by Covid-19.  There are many valuable lessons to learn and therefore actions to be implemented for the future.  Here lies the important question – with much speculation surrounding a possible second wave of Covid-19 are crisis management teams now better placed to deal with a crisis event – from which they have gained the first-hand experience?

In a recently leaked paper produced by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), it has been suggested that close to 85,000 people could die in the UK in a second wave of the coronavirus this winter.  It must be stressed that this is not an estimation – this is a worst-case scenario prediction.  It is based on the assumption that schools will remain open and that the government’s tracing, isolation, and quarantine measures will only be 40 per cent effective in cutting the spread of the coronavirus outside households.

Using statistical information for the purposes of forecasting, it is claimed that there could be a significant increase in the number of fatalities associated with a second wave of Covid-19 compared with the first wave of the virus, which has so far claimed in excess of 42,000 lives in England.  Let’s pause for a while to consider lessons learnt.  If information and predictions put forward are presented from a viable, trusted and competent source, then crisis management teams should be drawing up strategies to ensure that lessons are learnt from the first wave of the pandemic.  Such lessons include staff training, Covid-19 risk management, suitable and sufficient forms of PPE and proficient contact and trace arrangements.  These should all be key lessons to ensure adequate preparedness for the second wave of Covid-19.

 The COVID-19 pandemic so far has proven to be unpredictable. There is no doubt that a second wave of the virus, should it take place, will bring with it new and unforeseen challenges.  Security Exchange specialists are of the opinion that one of the greatest tools which currently exists is being crisis prepared for the diverse range of factors which will have an impact on organisations.