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What have We Learned?

Marion Charatan

Posted on December 24, 2020 13:13

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As 2020 winds down, what lessons have been gleaned from a worldwide pandemic? Can we reach the higher ground?

2020 has taught us hard lessons. Around February, we started to hear rumblings of a strange virus swirling around overseas, making people very, very sick to the point of ending up on ventilators; dying horrible deaths. The news was quick, shocking, and hard to believe. 

Since then, close to 79 million have caught the highly infectious virus and an estimated 1,730,663 have died--staggering numbers. The infections continue to climb at an alarming rate in some areas in spite of warnings to socially distance, wear masks, and wash hands from the CDC and WHO. However, infection rates are hard to control when people have to continue to care for the sick, work around others, or travel out of their area.

An estimated 33 million people have lost their jobs in the U-S, according to Market Watch. Many are hopeful that their work will return, but that's hard to say. Some jobs just won't come back.

Yet I continue to be inspired by our dedicated working medical professionals. I cannot imagine what they have gone through seeing death and sickness up close and personal, day after day. They are profiles in courage, each and every one of them, from the nursing assistants, RNs and respiratory therapists to the doctors, so selflessly putting other people's needs above their own and their family's.

It has been inspiring to see so many volunteers toiling at food banks and other social service outlets, potentially putting themselves at risk by being exposed to large groups of the public. 

There is some hope now. The COVID-19 vaccine is slowly being distributed. Health care workers, nursing home occupants, the elderly and those with underlying health conditions will be among the first in line to be vaccinated. This will take time, and there isn't enough vaccine to go around. It will be up to the states to decide the order of vaccine recipients. Hopefully, every person who wants an inoculation will have access to one by the summer.

But this is all TBD.

We need to have a much better system in place if and when another pandemic hits, and unfortunately, it is likely that will be the case. There should be more facilities to isolate patients, increased intensive care units, a better distribution system for vaccines---and a method in place to offer immediate financial assistance in dire times quickly. Having the public wait for modest stimulus checks for months on end is not acceptable. 

Lessons learned- our infrastructure for medical care and pandemic intervention needs a complete reexamination and revamp. And we have to focus on being kinder. The pandemic has brought out the best and the worst in each one of us. Hate crimes in the United States have gone up significantly. This includes in-person confrontations and online incidents, according to the FBI. Even the despair inflicted by this nearly year-long pandemic has not been enough to teach compassion or kindness to those with hardened hearts. 

Marion Charatan

Posted on December 24, 2020 13:13

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Source: NBC News

"This gives us a whole new picture on everything," a World Health Organization spokesperson said.

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