On the heels of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s retirement announcement, it’s worthwhile to look back and consider what we learned from the Covid experience and how are lives changed.
First and foremost, we now know that viruses are extremely dangerous to humans and can pose an existential threat to mankind. This means that a mega-virus heretofore only seen in fantasy movies is a real possibility.
Given the severity of this issue, do we need to assess whether enough research money is allocated to fighting viruses? Annually, billions are expended on various types of cancers and other diseases. Since a virus has the potential to end mankind, and these other maladies do not pack the same deadly punch, should money be re-distribute to focus on more dangerous threats?
It may be unfair to say, but I believe the medical community let us down during Covid. I’m referring to those health professionals that study viruses and tell us what to do and how to fight them, not the incredible scientists that created a vaccine so quickly and the health practitioners that cared for so many sick people.
One hundred years ago, mankind faced a similar threat. During the last century, why weren’t more experts worrying about a recurrence? We should have concluded from the last major pandemic that we are extremely vulnerable.
The people responsible for our safety did not receive effective direction from health professionals or government officials. We were told to wear masks, and many said we should not. We were told to take vaccines, and some said they were dangerous and/or ineffective. Fauci himself changed his mind numerous times on a plethora of issues. The public is entitled to receive current information from doctors and leaders. The federal government should be the most important player because we are all equally vulnerable to the virus.
Information flow about the long-term effects of the disease has been totally unacceptable. If one contracts Covid, can you contract it again, and again? What effect do the vaccines have on the virus? Do vaccines prevent another bout with Covid? Does the vaccine decrease the effects of another bout of the disease?
One important observation is that, medically, we are connected to every other country in the world. The virus can easily travel from Australia to the United States on a plane ride. We can no longer ignore what happens in other places. As a corollary, it behooves medical innovators to share information. Actions by China, allegedly hiding the fact that the virus was spreading out of control, eventually were responsible for many thousands of deaths worldwide. Biotech companies should share important facts about infectious diseases without regard to profits or reputation.
The Covid pandemic has had a tremendous impact on how we work, worldwide. It opened Pandora’s Box. Workers are now demanding that employers allow them to work from home. It will be many years before this is sorted out. Unfortunately, every company is unique. Some employees can do their work from home and others must be at the office or factory.
Some families benefited from spending much more time together in their homes during the pandemic. Family relationships strengthened for many. For others, not so much. The latter phenomenon was predictable because humans are social animals. Having relationships at work are important to many of us. In the worst cases, mental health issues arose from “cabin fever” situations.
Digital influence on our country and economy increased. For instance, much more banking was being done at home. The growth of digital has been a great boom to some industries, and the demise of others.
It’s worth trying to find some benefits from the pandemic experience. Although, this will never justify the deaths of so many people.