Covid 19’s persona has changed. No longer the plague that will end the world, it’s now a highly transmissible virus that responds to mitigation much like other, less contagious viruses. That has re-assured us and convinced us that there will be a post Covid world if we are careful and committed to individual responsibility within an overall plan.
Although we’re far from finished with Covid, ( I will not say “out of the woods yet”) and with tragic death counts notwithstanding, what have we learned that might be valuable in dealing with future global pandemics?
1) That although some people don’t like “experts”, jurisdictions whose Covid responses were led by public health experts had much more effective mitigation results.
2) That fast, unanimous action, even those considered premature will save many lives, whether trying to keep infections out of the country, or in the later phases of mitigation/social distancing.
3) That countiries that chose to inject politics, conspiracy theories, and partisan rhetoric into their Covid 19 responses, are faring badly.
4) That countries that are willing to accept and follow collective action for the common good have fared better than those countries which stress local and individual strategies, individual rights and/or are suspicious of collective action.
5) That international information, collaboration and initiative is needed to identify pathogens and suggest strategies for dealing with global pandemics.
Political criticism not withstanding, it would seem the W.H.O. must be that vehicle, despite American plans to withdraw from the organization.
6) That there are three stages in dealing with Covid 19, none of which can be “skipped.”
– contain the virus ( keep it out of the country)
– shelter at home until the infection curve is very low for at least 14 days.
– massive testing and contact tracing to allow for slow, phased in re-opening, with quarantining of any new cases.
These steps seem quite clear to most of the world, though we’re not doctors.
And yet, we’ve also learned:
7) That a large percentage of U.S. politicians and the American
public has not learned or embraced lessons 1-6 above.