Coronavirus: We Never Defined the Problem

The problem should be obvious—right?

Perhaps not.

Is the problem flattening the curve or stopping the Coronavirus?

Or should we define the problem as providing healthcare for those infected with the virus?

It should surprise no one, how we define a problem dictates how we approach it.

Sadly, in the induced panic of the Coronavirus, we as a society were never given the opportunity to demand politicians and bureaucrats actually define the problem. (Read: In Times of Crisis: No Room for Dissent)

What we were given was a solution—flatten the curve. (Read: The Myth of Curve Flattening)

We never questioned the wisdom of the solution; we simply fell inline, blindly following the so-called experts.

The trouble with blindly following—we never once looked at the actual problem.

As with any complex issue, it is always hard to find common ground—a problem definition provides that common ground.  

We are all intuitively aware there is no value in being told the answer is “four” when we don’t know what that number pertains to.

What does “four” mean; couldn’t the answer just as easily be “five”?

Without knowing the accompanying problem, how do we know for sure?

In fact, without the stated problem definition, the solutions being offered have no meaningand in many cases may be flat-out wrong.

This same principle holds true for the current crisis over the Coronavirus.  

Furthermore, the more diffuse or vague the problem definition, the more difficult it will be to find a solution. 

It is clear, in order to combat scope creep from hopelessly obscuring the actual problem facing America, we must take the time to carefully define the problem.  

Is “four” or “flattening the curve” in the case of the Coronavirus, the right answer?

In truth, without a corresponding problem definition we can’t know. (Read: Coronavirus Response: All About Providing Care)

The first task should have been to define the problem.

Regrettably, the first thing we got was a solution—divorced from any problem definition.

To date, we have blindly followed a solution which may or may not actually work.

It’s time to stop the madness and take a moment to step back and finally define the problem, making sure the actions put in place do what we need them to do—not simply follow an abstract solution based on who knows what.

As Yogi Berra would say, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” However, by putting aside our emotions and restricting our scope to the root-cause of the problem we will find we are well on our way to resolving the dilemma facing the nation.