No doubt, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is extracting a considerable toll on human health and the financial welfare of the U.S. and the world. Many people have been infected, many have died.
But there is, I believe, a silver lining to this tragic pandemic, positive developments that will emerge in everything from social behavior to exposing weaknesses in healthcare, as hard as it may be to visualize from our current vantage point of enforced social isolation and workplace shutdowns. Out of this awful experience, some good will result.
Among the positive benefits that I believe will emerge from this episode:
- It will restore an appreciation for the simple things: being able to see and touch friends and family, the simple pleasure of having coffee or a meal at a restaurant or shopping at a store, the freedom to travel, the ability to come and go as we please.
- It will highlight how and why everyone deserves to receive medical care, regardless of healthcare insurance status. If someone presents to the hospital gasping for air in respiratory failure, the last thing you want to do is demand an insurance card. Human life is precious and should not be about healthcare insurance premiums.
- It illustrates how health should be a collaborative effort, not a system of profit for a few.
- It exposes the weaknesses of the healthcare system’s ability to deal with a pandemic. With a mortality rate of around 1% that severely taxes the current system, imagine what would have happened had the mortality rate been 25-30% as it was with smallpox—such a pandemic may be in our future, but the system will be better prepared by learning from this relatively lower mortality experience.
- When thousands of people receive hospitals bills, it will expose how absurdly overpriced American healthcare has become. Being on a ventilator for, say, 7 days, weaned off, followed by recovery in hospital with respiratory therapy, antibiotics, and other assorted therapies is going to yield hospitals bills of $100,000 or far more, causing bankruptcies even in people covered by healthcare insurance. Despite all the hard work and dedication of people in healthcare, the healthcare system remains corrupt and exploitative. There are going to be people who receive hospital bills of many hundreds of thousands that healthcare insurers will find ways to not pay. Make no mistake: There are going to be people who profit from this crisis. We need to recognize this perversion and bring it to light to help craft a better system that provides quality care but does not allow undeserved excessive profit.
From the viewpoint of the Undoctored program, because of the lack of effective therapies for the virus, it has highlighted how and why optimizing the immune response can yield powerful protection against viral illnesses by employing strategies that are not part of the national conversation, strategies that reduce airway susceptibility to infection, reduce or eliminate the impaired immunity of high blood sugars, and reverse immunosenescence (loss of immune response with aging).