A lot of energy has been expended lately in pointing fingers and trying to find someone to blame and punish for Covid-19. . .something that is, basically, an “act of God.” Has anyone thought of punishing God? Seriously, instead of looking backward, why not look forward? What should we prepare for?
There will be issues directly connected to the virus, so we’ll begin there, but there are other possible crises awaiting for us. And it shouldn’t be about blame. A lot was made of the fact that George Bush had received warnings about an attack by bin Laden on the American homeland. There was a lot of blame. But there are so many possible crises, is it surprising that one got away?
Likewise, it’s a waste of energy blaming China or Trump for the current crisis. Neither one knew what was happening at first. And each apparently acted to the best of their ability. No one knew that it was a virus at first, and besides, we still do not really know how all this started. We now know that the novel virus was in America at least by January, and France had confirmed cases in December.
A lot of people died in 2019. We won’t know how the virus moved unless we go back and do autopsies, because the recorded “cause” of death would have been pneumonia, stroke, heart attack, or some other probable cause, anywhere in the world.
We may never know for sure how all this began, so let’s look forward. What’s next?
We already know that there will continue to be financial recession or depression for an indeterminate time, as the Harvard Business Review notes.
Economic contagion is now spreading as fast as the disease itself. This didn’t look plausible even a few weeks ago. As the virus began to spread, politicians, policy makers, and markets, informed by the pattern of historical outbreaks, looked on while the early (and thus more effective and less costly) window for social distancing closed. . .
In the U.S., politicians have passed a $2 trillion stimulus package to soften the blow of the coronavirus crisis. . .What is needed now, today, is a “real economy discount window” that can also deliver unlimited liquidity to sound households and firms.
That topic has been done to death, so to speak. Apart from the risk of a worldwide financial depression, another kind of depression threatens us—directly, according to Psychology Today.
According to a paper by Abdul Mannan Baig, “the brain has been reported to express ACE2 receptors that have been detected over glial cells and neurons, which makes them a potential target of COVID-19” and patients have had it reported in the cerebral spinal fluid. Previous studies have shown the ability of SARS-CoV to cause neuronal death in mice by invading the brain via the olfactory system.
But the crisis is also a mental health risk for those who are not directly infected, according to PsyCom.
Coronavirus has transformed everything we thought we knew about our daily lives, our government, and our health into a kind of bizarro world where FaceTime dating and panic-buying toilet paper are the new norm. It’s taking a toll on even the most optimistic of us as we try to stay positive amidst what feels like bleaker and bleaker news each day.
And, of course, the stress of working in daily crisis and fear of contamination has caused problems for health-care workers, according to ScientificAmerican.
The emotional toll of COVID-19 is tricky to predict. During a natural disaster, medical professionals often deliver care after the immediate threat has passed, and those providers are able to go home and decompress at the end of an upsetting day, says Joshua Morganstein, chair of the American Psychiatric Association’s Committee on the Psychiatric Dimensions of Disaster. When you are worried about bringing the disaster home with you, no place is safe.
Those who are adamant that they are willing to take a personal risk to go back to work should realize that their “choice” is multiplying the danger to health-care workers, who need fewer cases, now, not more.
On the other hand, the isolation that is helping to slow the growth of Covid-19 is also hard on the public, in general, leading to a possible suicide crisis.
A study released Friday tried to quantify the toll. The paper, which was not peer-reviewed, found that over the next decade as many as 75,000 additional people could die from “deaths of despair” as a result of the coronavirus crisis, a term that refers to suicides and substance-abuse-related deaths.
And National Geographic notes that this could also worsen our opioid crisis.
Amid widespread strains on the health-care system, the United States remains in an overdose crisis—more than two million Americans use opioids, and half a million use meth every week. A staggering 46,000 Americans died of overdoses in 2018. While COVID-19 has a disproportionate impact on various vulnerable populations, people with drug addictions are facing unique challenges in response to COVID-19.
And things are likely to get much worse. LiveScience warns that a second wave of a virus is often much worse than the first. We were “lucky” this year, since Covid-19 arrived after the end of the normal flu season. We probably won’t be that lucky next year.
If the virus has a second wave that coincides with the start of flu season — which is responsible for thousands of American deaths per year — then the nation’s health care system will likely be even more overwhelmed and under-supplied than it has been during the current outbreak of coronavirus in the U.S., CDC Director Robert Redfield told The Washington Post on Tuesday (April 21).
“There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,” Redfield said. “We’re going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time.”. . .
Because a widely available coronavirus vaccine is likely still 12 to 18 months away, preventing a deadly double-outbreak of respiratory viruses from ravaging the country will depend on a combination of other actions. First, Redfield said, state and federal officials must continue to push for social distancing this summer as more businesses and public spaces reopen. Social distancing has had an “enormous impact … on this outbreak in our nation” since the pandemic began, Redfield said, and that will hold true until coronavirus vaccines are widely accessible. Second, the country needs to massively scale up testing and contact tracing.
This is the first in a series of “what’s next” articles, looking forward, instead of grousing about the past.