Fooling Ourselves: We’re Far from Learning the Lessons of Covid

Ian Mitroff
2 min readJun 6, 2023

I’m publishing this series of articles to share and discuss my ruminations on coping with a troubled and messy world. You can “follow” me to never miss an article.

In the May 26th edition of The Week, the column Talking Points features a discussion on “What we did right — and what we did wrong” with regards to the handling of the Pandemic[i]. Thus, Public Trust was among the Pandemic’s major causalities. The culprit? Mixed messages on face masks and harsh mandates. For another, schools remained closed longer than those in other countries leading to the disruption of learning and substantial behavioral problems. Citing a new book by Erekiel J. Emmanuel and others, Lessons From the Covid War, Public Health leaders should have anticipated that far too many Americans would grow weary of Covid.

Saying that Public Health leaders should have better “anticipated” the Public’s response is one of the greatest understatements of all time. As I’ve written repeatedly, we/they should have better anticipated the countless fallacious arguments that would be produced for not getting Vaccinated[ii]. Indeed, we should have planned for all of the systems that would be disrupted.

The article quotes John Interlandi, who writing in The New York Times, argued that while flawed, the U.S. “got several things right”. Thus, stimulus checks helped feed millions and keep people housed. True, but once again, the near disastrous effects on the Economy were not part of the preplanning for Pandemics. Sadly, there’s little indication that it will be part of future efforts.

[i] Talking Points: “The pandemic: What we did right-and what we did wrong,” The Week, May26, 2023, P 16.

[ii] Ian I. Mitroff, The Socially Responsible Organization: Lessons from Covid 19, Singer Briefs, New York, 2022.

Ian I. Mitroff is credited as being one of the principal founders of the modern field of Crisis Management. He has a BS, MS, and a PhD in Engineering and the Philosophy of Social Systems Science from UC Berkeley. He is Professor Emeritus from the Marshall School of Business and the Annenberg School of Communication at USC. Currently, he is a Senior Research Affiliate in the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, UC Berkeley. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Management. He has published 41 books. His most recent are: Techlash: The Future of the Socially Responsible Tech Organization, Springer, New York, 2020. The Psychodynamics of Enlightened Leadership; Coping with Chaos, Co-authored with Ralph H. Kilmann, Springer, New York, 2021. His latest is: The Socially Responsible Organization: Lessons from Covid 19, Springer, New York, 2022.

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