In this uncertain, unprecedented time it would be easy to see all of the negative, disastrous effects of COVID-19, but what is not seen and needs to be addressed is all the positive that may come from this. I do not want to come across as callous; I do see the numerous harmful aspects of this – besides the obvious detrimental health effects, I believe the recent economic downturn is only the tip of the iceberg, but I do not want to focus on this, instead I hope to turn my focus instead to possible upsides – a true ‘glass is half full’ exercise.
Our sanitary habits will improve. I, like many Americans, I’m sure, never gave a second thought to simple actions like washing my hands or avoiding contact with my face, eyes, or mouth. Before, while I would always wash my hands after using the bathroom or before cooking, I would rarely, if ever, get up in the middle of the day to randomly wash my hands. I also avoided use of waterless hand sanitizers as I feared they would ‘dry out’ my hands. I hope and believe that our sanitary habits will forever change for the better when this disease is long gone.
Our appreciation of those in the healthcare field has grown. I realize that me, a physician, touting this as a benefit creates a conflict of interest. But even from the outside looking in, I have to believe our view of healthcare professionals has changed. I just watched a moving video of a city in Spain cheering for healthcare workers at their shift change: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MIjynl6nYc&feature=youtu.be. People in the healthcare field are on the front lines, putting their health in harm’s way for ours, this pandemic has shown us this.
We get to spend more time with our kids. I know that many of you do not have children, but for those of you who do, in this ugly mess of Coronavirus, we might one day look back and think of this time as a the most time we have had the chance to spend with our kids. I know many of you may be pulling your hair out thinking, “more time with my kids is good, but this is TOO much time!” I have had those moments, too, as I have two boys at home (ages six and 13). Besides finding out that seventh grade math is hard, I have come to cherish this time I get to spend with them. Never before would I have thought that I would be spending an entire Saturday morning with my family, putting together Legos.
The elderly were often a forgotten demographic, no more. While the statistics tell us that this disease can afflict ANYONE at any age, the elderly, especially those with concurrent medical conditions, seem to be more adversely affected than other age groups. The elderly population is often neglected, but this virus has highlighted this population. Ever since this began, I have called my parents every day to ‘check in’. When the proverbial smoke clears, this demographic will be forever remembered.
Public health is a thing! Before this, to me, public health was simply a topic that many would-be physicians took after college in their graduate studies. Now, as a doctor, while treating the individual, I find myself thinking of the health effects to the public – Public health! You do not have to be a physician to think this way – we have all become mini public health experts since this began and I hope this continues long after Covid 19; for in every action we take, besides thinking of the consequences to us as individuals, we ought to also consider ramifications to everyone else.
We are together. This is perhaps the most important positive outcome from this crisis. As a nation we are more divided than ever. If someone thinks up, someone else thinks down, and inevitably an argument breaks out between the ‘uppers’ and ‘downers’. But with this disease we realize that while we may disagree on just about everything, we are one. Perhaps it took such a drastic event to realize this.
I’d like to reiterate that I do see the direness of this situation. I do not want to come across as callous or daft to this crisis we are in. I simply hope to shed some brightness in your day, after being reminded time after time of soul draining topics like the ever growing death toll. I am sure there are many positive aspects of this I forgot. Please comment on the EBTS Facebook group page and let me know what I forgot.