Should We Give A Scientific Approach To Pandemic A Try? 

Should We Give A Scientific Approach To Pandemic A Try? 
Thai Business Box.

Should We Give A Scientific Approach To Pandemic A Try? 

Thailand’s economy has taken a massive hit due to the pandemic since the first outbreak in early 2020. Other economies have also suffered, say the leaders, which is true enough, but it is also a known fact that most other countries are recovering faster, surer and better.

 Same pandemic, different recoveries.

According to the Global COVID-19 Index (GCI) in 2020, when most countries worldwide suffered from the global pandemic, Thailand was ranked the ‘No.1 World Best Country for recovering from the COVID-19 epidemic’. However, in July 2021, in a Nikkei Asia COVID-19 recovery index, the country ranked 118th out of 120 countries.

So what went wrong ?

Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that the government is unable to make decisions and policies based on a scientific approach, not to see the connection between badly thought out Covid 19 management plans and subsequent economic devastation nor the ability to understand that when the pandemic is approached in a non- systematic and non- scientific way, it will eventually drain the country’s and its people’s resources.

 PM Prayuth recently visited the flood effected areas in Sukhothai and on this particular trip when the flood victims waited eagerly to see what their PM would say, he had only prayers to offer as a remedy for their plight. “ Lets pray for the storms to stop”. And again “ Other regions are going through it also, it’s not only flooding here.” On the same trip, he was captured on camera having a conversation with a cow and asking it “Do you agree?”. 
It’s good to know we have a “cow whisperer” as our Prime Minister in times of need.

In today’s world, surely we should be relying on big data and technology, to first of all predict when the storms will arrive, in what intensity and to make sure the predicted effected areas have preventative measures in place so that the victims will be least effected, in addition to a comprehensive flood management and relief plan.

This casualness, callousness and carelessness is the same sentiment applied to the COVID-19 situation that has brought the country to it’s knees.

When the pandemic started in 2020, our policy makers were dismissing it as a common cold, relying on lockdowns and our strong medical segment to see the country through.

Not once has the government displayed sound scientific knowledge in their decisions and policies and in underlining the importance of securing vaccines in the right amount , at the right time and yes the right vaccines, that shows the highest efficacy in preventing hospitalization and deaths.

From the word go, if the policy makers had based their decisions on available scientific data and research whether it’s on the vaccines, RTK Antigen test kits , medicines and medical equipment, the country could have been on a swift path to recovery by now and the government would have been saved from being attacked on every decision they make regarding their COVID-19 management.

Thailand cannot simply bear the burden of another blunder in the management of this pandemic which is far from over. 

The outbreaks may occur again and we need to be prepared next time.

Incessant lockdowns that brought about economic destruction of massive proportions must be avoided.

Government’s reaction to the pandemic is to impose lockdowns whenever an outbreak occurs. This reaction is understandable for the first lockdown as most countries did the same, but during that time, most leaders understood that scientifically the only way to stop the pandemic was through the eventual vaccination of their people.
At the first outbreak of Covid 19, many countries had no choice but to issue stay-at- home orders and other non- pharmacological measures to buy time while a vaccine was developed and for most countries lockdowns only represented a support strategy to vaccination policies when vaccines are not yet available.

In Thailand’s case, lockdowns under an ever-running emergency decree are the main weapons employed by the government to combat COVID-19 and not much else in terms of planning ahead.

Moving forward, we need to leave these two non-scientific tools behind for good and ramp up our researched knowledge of this virus to ensure that we keep our people safe from hospitalization and deaths in future outbreaks, with a comprehensive scientific-based COVID-19 management plan, that at the same time, keeps our economic engine running forward smoothly. 

By - Patra Manas.