BRANDON J. WEICHERT | THE WEICHERT REPORT
In today’s world of interconnected systems that criss-cross the world; when information is decentralized and proliferated across the globe at instantaneous speeds, it seems as though democratic regimes are at a disadvantage when compared with their autocratic rivals. This is especially so during a natural disaster or crisis, such as the coronavirus outbreak.
In fact, the world has been made to believe that the Chinese response to COVID-19 was somehow fantastic. Beijing took “war-time control” over their country, they declared a lockdown, enforced social distancing, and apparently used artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies to screen, track, and isolate potentially infected patients.
At the same time, since China was the source of the COVID-19 outbreak, the autocratic regime (which already had historic control over the country’s information) was able to sit atop the information flow, like some digital maulmein pagoda, and filter information about the disease and state of the country as needed. ,
This, in turn, allowed for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to both manage perceptions at home and abroad but to also efficiently (supposedly) coordinate a containment strategy while keeping the prying eyes of the West from training too much of a quizzical look their way.
Despite claims to the contrary, though, the West–notably the Trump administration–has also been able to enjoy a significant advantage in terms of information dominance. After all, the White House has been an average of two-to-three weeks ahead of the public in terms of the information curve. This is a good thing. It has allowed emergency personnel to prepare. Yet, as we’re seeing from New York City, Seattle, and California, even with the heads-up timing, the medical systems are becoming swamped. As are the grocery and convenience stores. People, while not panicking, are certainly not calm (which explains the run on toilet paper and other non-perishable items).
As The Weichert Report has been two weeks ahead of the information curve along with the administration (wonder why?) let me tell you what next I think will happen. We’ve already had what I call “seedlings” dropped into the media soil. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control Dr. Anthony Fauci took to the press to ruminate about the possibility of imposing a national lockdown. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) also lamented the loss of the airline industry. This was not mere speculation on his part. Rubio receives the same classified briefings that the president and corrupt people like Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) or Diane Feinstein (D-CA). He knows what’s coming down the pike. Already the airline services have halved their operations. The more statewide quarantines are imposed, and concern about the disease spreads, the less likely people will be inclined to travel. Thus, the airlines will have to discontinue.
Also, given how little people in places like Florida have respected the suggested social distancing protocols after they were ordered to work from home, and given that the disease is spreading to more and more people nationally, the government is going to have to step in and embrace a national lockdown. A recent National Review article was published demanding to know how long the current situation would last and when people could expect to return to normal life? Understandably, the folks at National Review, mostly Baby Boomers who don’t understand what changing paradigms look like, cannot fathom that a new normal is upon us. Yet, here it is. Normal life is not likely returning anytime soon.
Trump knows this. As does his medical advisers. This is why Trump has been out in front of the press, every day, making his press conferences for hours. He knows the truth: things are not getting back to normal. That is also why he was so desperate to talk up the ancient malaria medicine and its positive impacts on managing the disease. He needs toe ensure that citizens do not recognize that the old paradigm is gone and panic. He is also desperate to calm the spasmodic markets. But, as I have asserted repeatedly: this won’t be successful until an actual, scaled vaccine for COVID-19 is widely available. And that is some ways away (I think 18 months, though some have quibbled with this).
Next, you can expect toilet paper and other products being made available in greater abundance over the next few weeks. Unfortunately, the next batch of products that will be rationed until the supply chain can catch up, will likely be perishable items like meat and other foodstuffs, as well as bottled water. We’re already witnessing this in some parts of the country. Things are going to get much bleaker before they get better. They will get better, but not for some time. Your summer 2020 plans should be shelved, to say the least, and you should get comfortable with not only staying local but staying at home.
The White House has intimated this and seeded the environment for weeks. They have moved beyond mitigation and are now attempting a suppression strategy. It worked, somewhat, in China. But no American will likely be okay with such draconian measures here in the United States. Regardless, the Trump administration is moving forward with the plan, as it is the only option that could possibly work. This explains why some people are seeing US National Guard troops slowly deploying to their hometowns. It’s all being done quietly, but the quarantine is already underway. It is a slow build rather than a surge, so as to get people used to the new normal.
Expect to see US National Guard deployed in your communities–notably in the metropolitan areas. You can also expect your medical system to be swamped. In New York, where cases have exploded in 24-hour periods, the hospitals are already collapsing under their own weight. Seattle, meanwhile, is ground zero for the disease and it has mirrored Italy more than South Korea–and that is a portent for things to come for the rest of the country. The lights are going out in the West. But, they will be reignited. We have to get through this together and that means doing a better job of respecting quarantine and not worrying about the economy until the medical staff can achieve their goal of finding a cure.
Fact is, though, the Trump administration has enjoyed more information dominance in this crisis than any other American administration has under similar dire circumstances. This is why we’ve not really seen any food riots. It’s also why, despite the run on toilet paper and whatnot, we’ve been living more like The Dude in The Big Lebowski the last week or so and less like Mad Max. As this site has been anticipating the information flow, though, you’ve already prepared and put your mind in the right state. Whatever horrible images you will see in the press over the next few weeks, remember: it will be worse if quarantine is not respected and if you do not hunker down with your loved ones.
Whatever missteps the president may have made at the start of the outbreak, understand that the government is responding. They are also far ahead of the information curve than most people are. So, while this is a frightening time, the hope is that their information dominance will allow for some of the nastiest effects of COVID-19 outbreak to be tamped down in the United States. We will likely not be able to secure the country from the spread as China did. But, hopefully, we can ameliorate some of the most pernicious impacts of the illness outbreak. Just watch out for the next public statements–particularly those of people like Dr. Fauci–when they make what appears as a suggestion or a drastic throwaway comment: they are preparing you for what will soon happen–the very things you’ve been told only happen in the movies. They’re coming here…at least for a time.
We will get through this, though. We always do. What’s most surprising is how much information dominance the White House has managed to enjoy, despite the president’s early dismissal of the disease. Keep watching this as there is always a tell in public about what really is happening next.