I apologize for the glib title. There is no doubt, this pandemic has been devastating. However, trying to find the good in something bad is my intent. Allow me to list some of the silver linings to this dark cloud that we hope to see clearing soon.
1. Vaccine development technology has taken giant leaps forward.
The number of lives saved during our pandemic is not calculable yet, but it will surely number in the millions or tens of millions. The pressure of the pandemic created a scenario that allowed us to know how quickly our scientists can develop a new prevention. Congratulations to them!
The technical advances made during the pandemic have brought us closer to additional prevention therapies for the future. Treatment options are also closer. Diseases such as cancer and dementia may one day be treated with vaccines. At least in part due to what we are learning now.
The expertise and knowledge we are gaining now will certainly be part of the silver lining of the Covid-19 pandemic.
2. Public health organizations are much better prepared for our next pandemic.
Many mistakes have been made, but I’m confident that we are better prepared to deal with the next pandemic.
3. Telemedicine has finally become a viable tool.
The technology for telemedicine has been available for years. You know the saying…it’s all in the timing. The timing has allowed us to utilize this technology to care for our patients when we couldn’t get to them otherwise. Now it’s an acceptable and, in some cases, the preferred way to provide care.
4. A more proper perspective about many aspects of life:
This pandemic has created fear, worry, anger and heartbreak for so many individuals, families, healthcare workers and caregivers. At the same time, it stopped us in our tracks of the everyday hustle and bustle to remind us of what’s important in life. We were given this opportunity to reevaluate and reprioritize our lives.
5. Governments are hopefully learning from this.
The dangers surrounding biology and research is daunting. I am cautiously optimistic that they will do better next time.
Stay safe and healthy. We will get through this together.
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Mark Carlson, MD