Everyone wants a straightforward answer to what this pandemic means for them, and at some point, we must realize that something that is not visual that killed nearly 1,000,000 people nationally will never be straightforward. Over the month I alongside many other healthcare researchers became quite dismayed by the rapid escalation of COVID-19 cases, credited to the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant. We are currently in a place where mitigation efforts have become unclear to many public parties, or infeasible because individuals with supervisory power no longer want to have their personal operations uprooted.
Public health mitigation efforts for viruses that spread in the manner such as COVID-19 does must involve testing, isolation, masking, social distancing, and vaccination. All these measures cumulatively slow down the possibility to spread the virus, but each of these measures are difficult for many people to accept in their own lives. Consequentially, we have seen people, organizations, and the government pick and choose how to implement these measures. Often, we ask physicians for advice on the way the disease goes through our bodies, without consulting public health researchers how the consequences of that individual mechanism effects populations, and then additionally consulting the organizations that will have to implement guidance (often without follow up support through added personnel or financially).
We still do not have clear channels of communication for the pandemic and how to manage it, because we have grown accustomed to a prioritization on our “individualism” and “American Excellence “opposed to building a sustainable future for ourselves and our loved ones. Even if you do not personally feel the effects of COVID-19 surging right now, it is quite frightening for anyone in healthcare, and additionally frightening for the long-term ramifications allowing the disease to spread, hospitalize, and kill so many people so swiftly will have on us.
-Michael D. Green @thoughts_by_MDG, PhD Student
Department of Population Health Sciences
Duke University School of Medicine