by Marcus Griener

The ISRM Coronavirus Campfire Update



This week not only saw a continuing uptick in numbers but also a change of rhetoric of some governments. The short-term perspective or the fantasy that the virus might just go away has been replaced by the reality that the pandemic is here to stay and that a long-term plan needs to be developed. Even though we are seven months into the pandemic, it has been largely handled on a week-by-week basis and an appropriate strategic response is still missing. Many government programmes are running out and need to be either replaced or renewed to help those who have been most severely affected by the pandemic and to relieve some of the stress put on businesses and families for the months to come.


The consensus seems to be that we are now in the middle of the second wave, a wave that will last through the winter and will test the measures in place and people’s compliance to them. The one strategic element of flattening the curve to be better prepared for the expected rise in fall and winter has seemed to pay off during the summer in many countries but is now questioned again. Many rules are not enforced, and possibly cannot be. The publication of The Great Barrington Declaration has renewed the discussion around appropriate steps, and under which conditions a return to normalcy would be possible. Those who are most vulnerable have been isolated and locked away in their homes or in nursing homes, unable to be reached by their loved ones and would remain so under focused protection. However, the argument is that life needs to go on even if there are still many unresolved questions and opposing viewpoints around this. The newly imposed curfews have been criticized, as has the missing solidarity of younger people around wearing masks and social distancing, while the scientific debate about the long-term effects of the coronavirus is still going on. Yet, the question should be posed if we are indeed already in the second wave or if it is just the herald wave with the worst yet to come in the coming months.


While debates are going on around the new normal and the second wave, many people experience a coronavirus fatigue. After months of social distancing and an overflow of information, they withdraw from the discussion and try to find their own rhythm outside of the coronavirus news cycle. This is also in connection to dire effects on mental health caused by the lack of socialising and an unsure economic future for many students that have so far been neglected and need to be addressed.

The Coronovirus Campfires have been established in March 2020 by the ISRM to offer a weekly discussion platform for security practitioners around the ongoing pandemic. The last months have been a rollercoaster ride with regards to government response, media coverage, and new scientific evidence. During the one-hour long sittings, practitioners from all over the world share their unique personal experience and professional insight and try to make sense of this unprecedented and challenging time.