My area is a large city spread across two U.S. states and multiple different cities and counties. The area of 2.5 million is covered by parts of 4-5 different circuits. Many of those attending meetings are at-risk individuals with health problems or age related risk. Some congregations are 70% at risk individuals.
As a born-in JW this pandemic appears to be further evidence that more and more of the organization functions are simply being dumped on the appointed men and RAF. I believe many of the appointed men realize this but are powerless to do anything about it due to being trapped. The decision making being passed to each local congregation has created a patchwork of random approaches to meetings and service. There is no clear direction. There is every possible combination of scenarios from no meetings, service, etc. to full meetings, full service (no restrictions).
It seems the org. could provide some clear direction on a country level and say: We cannot meet until it is safe - no more in-person meetings until the authorities deem the threat to have passed. And to me this would give some remaining members confidence that there was a plan. The current approach of making all of the decisions based on what the local body thinks leads to a crazy disconnected and sometimes insanely ridiculous way of doing things. This pandemic makes me so appreciative that I am no longer an elder.
PS: I realize there are many other examples of the org. abandoning the local congregations and leaving it up to the local elders to make important decisions or to do all of the work of keeping things running smoothly. Feel free to post your favorite one! This pandemic just seems to be a glaring example that the GB and Bethel have little to offer beyond parroting what the government has already said - and then more or less saying - GOOD LUCK!