Zika – A 4-Letter Word

Go Lean Commentary

If it isn’t one thing – pandemic wise – it’s another. Since the recent days of promoting the book Go Lean … Caribbean, and the accompanying blog-commentaries, there has been the issue of the Chikungunya virus and the Ebola virus. Now comes the Zika virus.

This virus is proving to be a “4-Letter” word. See VIDEO here:

VIDEO – U.S. doctors prepare as Zika virus spreads – http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/u-s-doctors-prepare-as-zika-virus-spreads/

January 27, 2016, 6:47pm – The Zika virus is continuing to spread and U.S. doctors are bracing for its arrival. Airlines are giving refunds to passengers who booked flights to infected countries where travel warning have now been issued. CBS Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook breaks down the dangers — and precautions that can be taken. (VIDEO plays best in Internet Explorer).

The below article in the New York Times is demonstrating that the Zika virus is becoming a threat for all of the Americas. But some people are in a worst disposition than others:

Welcome to the Caribbean!

The Go Lean movement seeks to reform and transform the Caribbean societal engines:

  • Economics
  • Security
  • Governance

CU Blog - Zika - A 4-Letter Word - Photo 1

All of these engines come under attack with this virus:

  • Economics – Visitors who may be pregnant or considering pregnancy are advised to stay away from the affected states: including 11 Caribbean member-states. For tourism, our primary economic driver, expect a “hit”, as honeymooners and newly-weds will be dissuaded to vacation in our region.
  • Security – Viruses and other epidemiological episodes are among the “bad actors” that can endanger a community. Any proactive or re-active security apparatus is required to be “on guard” against these threats.
  • Governance – The governance in the affected countries are now urging citizens to delay pregnancies. This disruption in the natural cycle of human procreation is a violation of the assumed Social Contract between governments (the State) and the citizens. The citizens are expecting the State to protect them … and stay out of their bedrooms (family-planning decisions).

This Zika issue is a major issue that has now come under the attention of major “alphabet” stakeholders, like the WHO (World Health Organization) and the CDC (America’s Center for Disease Control). See the heightened threat as conveyed by the New York Times in this news article here and in the Appendix-VIDEO below:

Title: Zika Virus ‘Spreading Explosively’ in Americas, W.H.O. Says
By: Sabrina Tavernise, NY Times

Officials from the World Health Organization said on Thursday that the Zika virus was “spreading explosively” in the Americas and announced that they would convene an emergency meeting on Monday to decide whether to declare a public health emergency.

“The level of alarm is extremely high,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, the director general of the W.H.O., in a speech in Geneva.

As many as three to four million people in the Americas could be exposed to the virus in the next 12 months, said Dr. Sylvain Aldighieri, a unit chief for the Pan American Health Organization.

“As I told you, we have big gaps in terms of confirmation of the real situation,” he said. “These are estimates. These are mathematical estimations.”

Of particular concern, Dr. Chan said, are the cases of microcephaly, a rare condition in which infants are born with abnormally small heads that has been rising dramatically in Brazil as Zika spreads. Experts say it is too early to tell whether Zika is the cause of the condition, but there are some indications that the two are linked.

The health authorities in Brazil said on Wednesday that reported cases of microcephaly had climbed to 4,180 since October, a 7 percent increase from the previous tally last week. Before the epidemic, Brazil recorded only about 150 cases of microcephaly a year.

That has caused widespread alarm because researchers say the virus arrived in Brazil only recently, with the huge jump in microcephaly cases reported by doctors, hospitals and other medical officials following closely in its wake.

But proving that Zika is the cause has been elusive.

“It’s really important to understand the difference between associations and causations,” said Dr. Bruce Aylward, a W.H.O. assistant director general, noting that there are still many questions about whether the Zika virus and microcephaly are linked.

The Brazilian health ministry said Wednesday that it had examined more than 700 reported cases of microcephaly and found Zika in only six of the infants — though what that means exactly is unclear. Infectious disease specialists caution that Brazil’s testing methods are outdated and may miss many Zika cases. They also say that in some cases, the mother may have had Zika, causing microcephaly in her baby, even if the virus is never detected in the infant.

The virus has spread to more than 20 countries and territories in the region. Dr. Chan said she was “deeply concerned about this rapidly evolving situation.” She also raised an alarm about the potential for further international spread of the virus, given how ubiquitous the mosquitoes that carry it are and how few people have developed immunity to it. The virus, which first surfaced in Uganda in the 1940s, had rarely been seen in the Americas.

“The level of concern is high, as is the level of uncertainty,” she said. “Questions abound. We need to get some answers quickly.”

Dr. Chan struck a tone of deep concern, but Dr. Aylward appeared to play down some of the most dire predictions about the disease.

“‘Concerned’ is certainly the right language to be used,” he said. “ ‘Alarmed’ would definitely not be the right language.”

Asked whether the W.H.O. would advise people not to travel to Brazil for the Olympics, he replied, “I would think that would be very, very unlikely when you look at areas affected and the scope of this.”

Some experts had criticized Dr. Chan for not immediately convening a committee to advise on whether to declare Zika a public health emergency. On Wednesday in the journal JAMA, two experts called for an immediate meeting, saying the hesitation on the part of the W.H.O. echoed the agency’s slow reaction at the outset of the Ebola epidemic in 2014.

“The very process of convening the committee would catalyze international attention, funding and research,” they wrote.

On Thursday morning, one of the authors, Dr. Daniel Lucey, an expert on global viral outbreaks at Georgetown University School of Medicine, said of the announcement, “I’m very, very happy.”

Dr. Chan said she would be asking the committee for advice on the “the appropriate level of international concern” and for what measures the W.H.O. should advise affected countries to take. She said she would also ask the committee to identify research priorities

One worry, Dr. Chan noted, is that there is no vaccine against the virus or a rapid diagnostic test to determine whether someone has been infected. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview this week that scientists at the National Institutes of Health were working on both.

“We are already on our way on the first steps to developing a vaccine,” he said. “And we have started to work on a diagnostic to tell if someone’s been infected.”

Other related articles:

Short Answers to Hard Questions About Zika Virus

Reports of Zika-linked Birth Defect Rise in Brazil

Zika Testing Is Urged for Some Newborns

CU Blog - Zika - A 4-Letter Word - Photo 2

What countries should pregnant women avoid?

About two dozen destinations mostly in the Caribbean, Central America and South America.

The Pan American Health Organization believes that the virus will spread locally in every country in the Americas except Canada and Chile. Here is the C.D.C.’s current list of countries and territories in which Zika virus is circulating. (Caribbean countries in RED italics)

The Caribbean
United States Virgin Islands
Dominican Republic
Saint Martin

South America
French Guiana


Find the latest Travel Advisory updates here.
Source: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/health/what-is-zika-virus.html

Is there a responsible party who would champion this issue for the Caribbean region?


But there is the need to fill this void in the region; there is the need for Caribbean leadership to address the needs of the whole Caribbean economic, security and governing eco-system. While there is no current solution, other than the WHO’s address and that of individual member-states, there is now a plan – better still, a roadmap to address the deficiencies.

The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as that roadmap; it posits that the Caribbean region must promote its own interest and protect its own citizens. We should not look to the WHO to micro-manage our day-to-day details; they have no concern for our touristic industry implications. It is not within their charter. Further, we should not count on the US to pursue the Greater Good for our Caribbean local, as their (CDC) travel advisory already endangers our economies, with no consultation with our tourism planners. (This is also not in the CDC’s charter). Assuredly, we must have our own preparation and response vehicle.

This is the charter of the Go Lean…Caribbean book.

The book urges the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), as a regional sentinel in the Caribbean, for the Caribbean. The complete prime directives of the CU is as follows:

  • Optimize the economic engines of the Caribbean to elevate the regional economy.
  • Establish a security apparatus for public safety assurances and to protect the economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

With issues like this, ugly elements of society always emerge: nationalistic self-interest, finger-pointing and bad politics. Talking-heads start to talk.

But this is a time for action, not talk. The biggest and best remediation is also a simple one: kill the affected mosquitoes.

This Go Lean/CU roadmap declares that “Crap happens” (Page 23). This immediately calls for the establishment of a Homeland Security Department, with an agency to practice the arts and sciences of Emergency Management. The emergencies include more than natural disasters (hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, flooding, forest fires, and droughts), they include the man-made variety (industrial accidents, oil spills, factory accidents, chemical spills, explosions, terroristic attacks, prison riots) and epidemic threats. Of course, this type of emergency, the Zika virus, described in the foregoing VIDEO/article, requires professional expertise, a medical discipline. Stopping Zika therefore would require a hybrid response of the Emergency Management agency and the CU’s Department of Health Disease Control & Management agency. This agency of Medical experts would help contend with systemic threats of epidemic illness and infectious diseases.

These stakeholders would be expected to kill mosquitoes. (A coordinated Rapid Response Team, seeking out mosquitoes breading grounds – still waters – and deploying appropriate pesticides).

The Go Lean roadmap immediately calls for the coordination of security monitoring and mitigation in the Caribbean; this point is declared early in the Go Lean book with a pronouncement in the Declaration of Interdependence (Page 12), as follows:

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. …[to ensure] the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

The Go Lean roadmap calls for the integration of the viral sentinel responsibility of the 30 Caribbean member-states, despite the 4 different languages and 5 colonial legacies (American, British, Dutch, French, Spanish) – notice the foregoing list of countries – into the CU Trade Federation with the tools/techniques to bring immediate change to the region to benefit one and all member-states. This includes the monitoring and epidemiology defense of common and emerging viruses. This empowered CU agency will liaison with foreign entities with the same scope, like the WHO, and the CDC.

Most importantly, the CU would coordinate the Caribbean brand and image promotion. The rest of the world need to know that we can kill mosquitoes, and cajoled our communities into action to mitigate all known threats; (i.e there is no travel advisory for Florida).

Since the CU roadmap leads with economic reforms, the primary economic driver of the region (tourism) would be a constant concern. The realization, or even the unsubstantiated rumor, of viral outbreaks can imperil the tourism product. We must therefore take proactive steps to protect our economic engines. So there are heavy responsibilities for the stewardship of the Caribbean economy, security and governing engines. The goal is to impact the Greater Good of the entire Caribbean region. The CU invites this role and promote it as a community ethos.

There should be no need for a travel advisory, or to ban pregnant women, or honeymooners or general vacationers.

We’ve got this!

The Go Lean book details the community ethos, plus the executions of the following strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to impact the region’s public health security in protection of the economy:

Community Ethos – Privacy versus Public Protection Page 23
Community Ethos – “Crap” Happens Page 23
Community Ethos – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Cooperatives Page 24
Community Ethos – Non-Government Organizations Page 25
Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Sharing Page 35
Community Ethos – Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategy – Vision – Non-Sovereign “Unified” Proxy Entity Page 45
Strategy – Customers – Residents & Visitors Page 47
Strategy – Agents of Change – Globalization Page 57
Tactical – Confederating a Permanent Union Page 63
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Separation of Powers – Emergency Management Page 76
Separation of Powers – Disease Control & Management Page 86
Implementation – Ways to Pay for Change Page 101
Implementation – Security Initiatives at Start-up Page 103
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Implementation – Ways to Foster International Aid Page 115
Implementation – Ways to Benefit from Globalization Page 119
Planning – Ways to Better Manage Image Page 133
Planning – Ways to Improve Failed-State Indices Page 134
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Healthcare Page 156
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Governance Page 168
Advocacy – Ways to Better Manage the Social Contract Page 170
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Cooperatives Page 176
Advocacy – Ways to Improve for Natural Disasters Page 184
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Emergency Management Page 196

Previous Go Lean blog-commentaries have detailed the reality of viral management around the world, at different times in different locales. There is much for us to learn in the Caribbean. (As reported in the foregoing VIDEO, there are many similarities of Dengue, Yellow Fever and West Nile to this new Zika virus). See sample list here of previous blogs:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4720 A Lesson in History – SARS in Hong  Kong
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4111 Detroit-area Judge to Decide if Kids Need Vaccines
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2397 Stopping Ebola
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1003 Painful and rapid spread of new virus – Chikungunya – in Caribbean

There have also been previous Go Lean blog-commentaries that have addressed the economic and governance deficiencies in the Caribbean region, as related to this Zika issue. See here for a sample list of these types of blogs:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6531 A Lesson in History – Book Review on ‘Exigent Circumstances’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6341 Tourism Stewardship — What’s Next?
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5287 Book Review on Vaccines – ‘Thimerosal: Let The Science Speak’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5002 Managing a ‘Clear and Present Danger’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4360 Dreading the ‘Caribbean  Basin Security   Initiative’
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2105 Recessions and Public Health

An underlying goal of the Go Lean movement is to make the Caribbean homeland, a better place to live, work and play. While this roadmap includes a heavy focus on economics, the other areas for societal harmony –  security and governance – must get due attention. Accepting the premise of “bad actors” inevitability means preparing counter-measures in earnest. We need a technocratic security apparatus for public safety and epidemiological crises. This is necessary to elevate our Caribbean homeland.

The entire region is hereby urged to lean-in to this Go Lean roadmap – the countries included on the above Travel Advisory list and the rest of the Caribbean – to fulfill the vision of securing our homeland. We can, and must do better.

We are bigger than mosquitoes, literally and figuratively.  🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean Now!


Appendix – What is the Zika virus?

A tropical infection new to the Western Hemisphere.

The Zika virus is a mosquito-transmitted infection related to Dengue, Yellow Fever and West Nile virus. Although it was discovered in the Zika forest in Uganda in 1947 and is common in Africa and Asia, it did not begin spreading widely in the Western Hemisphere until last May, when an outbreak occurred in Brazil.

Until now, almost no one on this side of the world had been infected. Few of us have immune defenses against the virus, so it is spreading rapidly. Millions of people in tropical regions of the Americas may have had it.


Appendix VIDEO – W.H.O. Speaks Out and Calls for A Conference – http://graphics8.nytimes.com/video/players/offsite/index.html?videoId=100000004173752

 Published January 28, 2016 – Officials from the World Health Organization warned that the Zika virus was spreading “explosively” and called for an emergency meeting to address it. – REUTERS.

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