Every once in a lifetime there seems to be an event that will change the way we see things or do things. For many, it seemed as though 9/11 was going to be that life changing event because it meant we were always going to be on our toes looking over our shoulder for terrorists in our midst. Although that was, indeed, a life changing event, it didn’t have quite the impact that COVID has had on society. This one microscopic organism affected the entire world, not just one nation or two. It changed the lives of literally everyone on the planet and it will continue to be changing lives for as long as we can see into the future.
Collaboration at Its Very Best
In the very beginning, no one actually knew very much about this virus, how it was transmitted, what it would do to the body, and we certainly didn’t know it had such a high mortality rate. It didn’t take long to figure out that this was one virus nobody wanted to play with. Epidemiologists, immunologists, and the very brightest minds the world had to offer began working on a better understanding of how the virus was transmitted and what it would take to stop the spread.
Laboratories all over the world began working on vaccines and before long there were a few that gained approval for emergency use until final review and approval could be granted. This was one side of the coin. This was a spirit of collaboration at its very best.
A Sad Realization: Healthcare in Crisis
It has been common knowledge for years that healthcare is in crisis. Not only is there a lack of qualified medical professionals in developing nations but there is a serious lack of doctors and nurses in the world’s superpowers as well. It had been previously forecast that the shortage would set us in crisis mode by the year 2040, but the global pandemic hastened that date by a decade.
Now, by the year 2030, the entire world will face a severe crisis due to a lack of doctors, nurses, and other qualified medical professionals. As if the shortage wasn’t bad enough before, we are now losing doctors and nurses to the virus and to professional burnout.
Building Leadership from the Inside
For almost two years, doctors and nurses have been working literally around the clock, tending to a high population of coronavirus patients, and there was no relief in sight. At times it seems as if there is a general lack of leadership, and rightfully so. With dwindling numbers of doctors and nurses, there has been no one to fill the gap. A great number of RNs are now looking at advancing their careers to help fill a void. However, this could create a gap in nurses available on the floor.
Interestingly, one of the ways in which SARS-CoV-2 has changed healthcare is that it has brought about a better awareness of the need for qualified nurses and doctors. High-ranking schools like Baylor University now offer post-baccalaureate accelerated nursing programs for those students who already hold a bachelor’s degree in another field but would like to change majors to the field of nursing. If there is one thing the pandemic brought to the light, it would be the extreme shortage of healthcare workers.
The Flipside of the Coin
This is the side of the pandemic that no one really wants to talk about but, unfortunately, there are things that must be said about the flip side of the coin. With the heads up, we found a community that was caring enough to step forward doing the right thing at the right time. They masked, sheltered in place, got vaccinated when it was made available and did everything in their limited power to mitigate the spread of this deadly virus.
On the flip side, there was a significant amount of people who had theories of their own. Some thought the virus wasn’t real and others yet thought that it was real but an attempt at population control. For every verifiable news article that came out, there were half a dozen conspiracy theories, and all this misinformation did nothing to stem the tide of frustration.
Politics vs. Science – The Great Divide
There is nothing new about just how far the great divide between politics and science spread within the past two years. One of the problems early on was the politicizing of a virus that should have been handled with science. Now this has escalated to such an extent that we have begun labeling statistics as ‘Red’ or ‘Blue,’ especially in terms of vaccination data. Regions that are predominantly blue have higher vaccination rates than regions which are red and it all boils down to a power play, at best.
Sadly, the person with the ‘power’ in any given state makes and lifts restrictions based on their political leaning as opposed to what science has proven with peer reviewed study after study. Of all the lessons learned from almost two years of dealing with SARS-CoV-2, we learned that there should always be that ‘Great Divide’ between politics and science. Perhaps an unbiased, party neutral panel, should have the power to mandate restrictions. We’ve certainly learned that politicians don’t have the knowledge or experience to speak in the name of medical science. These past two years have shown us this, if nothing else. In the same way that Christian churches and schools prefer to have government say removed from any of their administrative actions, so too should government leave science to scientists and legislation to lawmakers.
What If They Knew Then What We Know Now?
At the time when the Bill of Rights was being drafted, there was a huge concern that religion would define our basic rights and so the “Establishment Clause” was written. Without going into that bit of American history, imagine what it would be like today if the founding fathers had taken it one step further. What if that clause had read, “Neither a state nor the federal government may set up a church or science laboratory?” What if there was separation between science and state? Do you think we’d still be counting vaccination rates by red and blue demographics? We’ll leave you with that tidbit of food for thought.