Perspective: A Lesson From The Pandemic
A rogue wheel, loosened from a truck, bounced madly across the tollway in front of us as we headed east on I-88. Had we been a little closer, it might have slammed into our car. It was a vivid reminder, as though we needed another one, that we are not really in control of our fate.
Control is an illusion that has been shattered over the past year as the virus flashed through the world’s population, morphing, striking, strengthening. No one could feel entirely safe. No one was entirely safe.
This will be one legacy of the past year, this loss of confidence that we control our own fate. We learned with horror that a stray cough on an invisible breeze might infect us. It seemed impossible to protect ourselves until we learned what precautions to take. And then we saw that many who had to work and couldn’t take those precautions were more likely to get sick and die.
The world gained much knowledge from earlier epidemics and public health crises, but failed to implement many changes to the social fabric that would have reduced last year’s terrible toll. People and societies want to move on, to return to normal, to forget.
But it is vitally important that we keep in mind that humbling feeling of helplessness we all felt last year and work to implement those systemic changes that would have made a big difference to so many. Because we all know that this won’t be the last pandemic.