The world as we know has suddenly halted, and the SAT word of the year is “unprecedented” (def: never known before). Let’s start listing some of these “unprecedented” events that transpired in the last 1.5 mo. You can skip the bullet points if you want to be spared feeling sad since we are all living it in the muck of 2020:
Let’s talk about this short term solution: Putting out the fire, Flattening the curve, Planking the curve…whatever your health officials call it… Um … planking it, extends it (look at that x-axis=time since outbreak), so while we are helping the healthcare system, what long-term solution are we proactively putting in place to sustain the disruption of other industries and people’s livelihood? It seems so easy to ask the unemployed to stay home. Has the media covered raising that blue bar though (hospital's capacity)…I’m just curious, maybe I missed it?
“Social and Economic Lockdown until a virus is eradicated” is a lofty goal. Here is why? Only 2 viruses have been eradicated so far in history. Two. Dos. Due. Deux. That is 1. Small pox, and 2. Rinderpest (which only affected cattle). Some would argue that polio* might fall in that category making it 3…but that’s not what we’re debating here. Ultimately what I’m saying is that 2 diseases caused by microbes (viruses to be exact) have been eradicated which took decades of scientific advancement, vaccination, a global campaign with social, political and scientific efforts. Decades. The solution to manage COVID-19, clinical trials, the mass hysteria, panic, conspiracy theorist, anti-vaxers, economic recession and imminent depression will require a GLOBAL solution and coalition. Emphasis on “global”. Not a separatist/populist/nationalist approach or unilateral solution that omits other countries in an era of mass transportation. The solution needs to be multifaceted. It will need an approach that prioritizes healthcare workers having proper equipment to manage ALL patients. It will need to increase its healthcare workforce (and why not tap into the foreign medical doctors in North America that have been relegated to other industries.) It’s like we’ve suddenly forgotten that other medical conditions exist like cancer, liver failure, heart disease, organ transplants, multi-drug resistant tuberculosis… It requires a campaign on proper personal hygiene, hand washing, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. It requires people returning to a semblance of a functional society so they can feed themselves. It will require a more sensitive society that appreciates teachers, custodial workers, grocery store workers, etc. It will require funding for scientists and researchers (who are the real unsung heroes) since society will depend on them for the development and scientific interpretation of serologic studies, therapeutic modality, and a vaccine. Lastly, it will need a HUGE campaign focusing on pandemic prevention and management, because our short-term memories and nonchalance about history will set us up to repeat this mistake in the future. A little over a century ago, the Spanish Flu Pandemic taught us lessons that we as a society all forgot… A long term solution will require way more than the totality of a lockdown until the virus is “eradicated”… But what do I know… I’m just an artist…
(PhD in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, in case you wondered)
Just 2 references for your reading pleasure… Because you have time.