Lockdowns or No Lockdowns

Let's do an experiment for the months of March, April and May.

A former emergency management director in the province of Alberta, Canada, has been spreading the message that lockdowns for COVID-19 don't work, and that emergency management should have been the lead agency in coordinating the response in Alberta: "No lockdowns in Alberta if Emergency Management Agency was in charge – Former Executive Director David Redman."

A few thoughts on the above. One is that "in general" emergency management is not "in charge" of anything. I always corrected people when they used the term "command center" when referring to the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Emergency management is a coordinating agency that leads the governmental effort at whichever level of government we serve at. The chief elected official — mayor, governor, premier — is the one who is "in charge" and we are merely instruments in carrying out his or her directions. Therefore, I prefer the designation of ECC for Emergency Coordination Center.

As for the lockdowns. It will be interesting to watch what happens here in the United States in the next 90 days. We have a grand experiment in process right now and we will see if all the "openings" being announced by governors now hold or if we end up back in a lockdown status due to a surge in cases — likely because of the new variants that are spreading quickly around the nation. 

Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.