By Michael Patrick, Ph.D.
As a former network news vice-president and executive producer, my job wasn’t today’s story, but the one just around the corner. We had to stay on top of what was coming when we could see it. We asked questions before others did, and we looked for answers. Naturally, getting surprised was part it. Staying prepared, adapting to change, and not stalling in shock and horror was a day’s work.
In that spirit, here are a few questions for the present moment.
Covid-19 arrived terribly and sudden. Friends in China were sent fleeing into their homes. Then the beast turned its gaze south and west.
This wickedness came so fast and mysteriously, it stampeded the herd. We turned off all the lights. We went home, washed our hands, and hoped we could ride out the coming storm.
There are a lot of corona viruses and influenzas out there. Some will kill many times more people this year. We count every Corona death, the others not so much. We’ve gotten used to them. This nasty one is particularly vicious to one out of five of our elderly, among others. Do the math.
This week, leaders from the G20 nations gathered in a a virtual emergency summit, along with international organizations. They pledged $5 trillion dollars to catch up with cascading demands on our medical systems, supplies, and support.
The Trump administration and a restive U. S. Congress are also on board, cranking up credit to spend another $2.2 Trillion to help stabilize U.S. businesses and the economy, and to help states respond to the crisis. Busy week.
Here’s my questions. What will we choose to do next flu season? The year after that?
What about next year, when Covid-19 shows up again with its killer buddies, and declares, “I’m back!” What if he brings along his girlfriend, the virus we haven’t met yet?
Clearly, we were all caught flat-footed, but what’s next? When the lightning flashes next year, do we turn off the lights and hide again in our caves?
Do we anticipate repeatedly shutting down the world to remake it? In whose image?