I believe that medicine’s potential is much more than the version we see in the world today. A doctor should be an educator with the goal of bringing patients to a place of deeper understanding of who they are in the world. To me, medicine is ultimately about self-empowerment through self-knowledge and growth.
The 14 DAY trends are flat, I’m happy to report. 130k cases per day nationally. Only 30 cases per day locally in Berkshire County.
Look again to a country who went through a BA.5 wave before us: South Africa. Less than 60 days after it began, South Africa’s fifth wave of COVID-19 infections ended with the lowest peak and fewest deaths of any previous wave in the country. Their fifth wave was driven by the BA.4 and BA.5 strains of the omicron variant. Lasting about 8 weeks, it was the shortest and least severe wave they have seen so far. Maybe we are 1/3 of the way through it ourselves.
We’ve done a lot of the work to move through this Pandemic, as it stands. Maybe we are almost done.
Who would tell us if we were? The same people with “state of emergency” powers? I think not. Let me tell you, novel viruses cease to remain novel after a while. If they’re not novel, they have a pretty good chance of blending into the landscape. The fear is thinning out day by day. It’s a good sign. Believe me, we are getting there.
5 score and 4 years ago
It’s helpful to take a faraway look on life, occasionally, if only for a short moment. It gives important perspective. Take a look back again with me to the Flu pandemic of 1918–1920 and see how it informs us.
The first world war concluded at the end of 1918 with 17 million deaths. Talk about a two-punch combo! 40 million people then died in the Influenza Pandemic of 1918–20. 40 million is equivalent to 150 million deaths worldwide today; it’s over 2% of the population.
Medicine was scarce. There were no federal guidelines about anything. There was no CDC. There was no National Institutes of Health. There was no Department of Health and Human Services. Info was suppressed, especially at the outbreak, because it was wartime. Truth is an early causality of war, so they say. Censorship and opinion-control get elevated.
They had it worse, way worse, it seems to me. Covid-19 has had 6.5 million confirmed COVID-induced deaths world-wide, far, far short of 150 million, even if the real number is more like 15-20 million, which some estimate.
Make-shift hospitals and convalescent wards were constructed or created out of stadiums, and the like. The high death rates took a serious toll. Society and families were collapsing. From major cities and rural areas came reports of people starving “because no one had the courage to bring them food”; People had to rely on what they had on hand.
In present times, our hospitals run as close to capacity as they can. They get fairly easily overwhelmed. I’m just noting we didn’t need to build any makeshift hospitals during Covid-19. The Army Corps of engineers were left waiting by the phone. The call never came.
Lingering symptoms after infections were seen then too. Mental health suffered for years after the pandemic ended. You have to factor in WWI and war trauma, but even in neutral Nordic countries psychiatric institutions saw the average number of admissions show a seven-fold increase in each of the six years following the pandemic, compared to earlier, non-pandemic years.
So now what?
People will look back on our recent political situation, the censorship (the fake news over there, the misinformation over here), the riots, the insurrection, the war in Ukraine, the supply chain disruption, the workplace revolutions as a part of the social unrest of the Covid-19 Pandemic years. And they’ll probably shake their heads, recognizing how difficult it was for us. Nevertheless, it’s important for us to not get too entrenched in our own stories. We need to find our healthy standpoint.
Your Daily Bread
We should learn, instead of sinking into our story, we have one main job when we wake up in the morning and face our day.
Before we enter the labyrinth of a day waiting for us, our job is to make an effort to step out of time and space even if just for 1 short moment and to connect to the well of peace that lives in us. Imagine if we all learned that and practiced that.
Despite the collective plight: the censorship, the manipulation, the jockeying, the coverups, the selfishness, the fighting, the warfare, the terrible plans and projections…
Despite our individual plight: the suffering, the illness, the loneliness…
Despite it all, we have an ideal that we strive for: to regularly spend a moment dropping our story, fearlessly letting it go. We might not be able to reach it on this day, but we can start moving towards it. We can at least recognize that we thrive at our job as a human in community when we learn how to connect to a power for good that lives not above the clouds but in our core. It’s the ideal waking up moment. It sets the tone. It makes a difference. It matters. And so do you. And none of it just happens without aiming for it.