Letter writer: Lessons from the coronavirus “trials and tribulations”

Dear Editor:

Long after the Coronavirus secures history book infamy, we hope that practical lessons endure from the trials and tribulations.  We know, after all, that to ignore history is to condemn oneself to repeat it. Collectively, then, we need an organizational health infrastructure reset button and, individually, we need a self-accounting of our everyday habits and mindsets.

Consider first our investment priorities. The U.S., on average, spends 186.6 billion dollars a year on counter-terrorism measures. By contrast last year we allocated a billion dollars for pandemic prevention. Consequence? Congress has now pumped trillions for economic stimulus recovery. Go figure it.

Global accountability is in order.  China, for one, must confront the issue of transparent case reporting. Granted, this is a a novel virus and it’s easy to finger-point but the W.H.O, CDC. NIH and whole assorted alphabet soup of mega health organizations demand serious self—examination, on where the ball got dropped. National and regional and state governments, too, must evaluate why the world response was a dollar late and a day short.

Face it, we are woefully unprepared with our global health infrastructure and therefore sitting on a time bomb. Remember, this could be just a preview.   As a human race we are inextricably inter-connected thru easy travel, instant digital communication, and global markets. This pandemic should amplify our awareness that an outbreak anywhere is, in fact, an outbreak everywhere.  We’re literally one air passenger away.

Individually, too, we each play a part in world health as a fence is only as strong as its links.

SOCIAL JUSTICE: Do we blithely accept a health system that leaves tens of millions uninsured; or do we join the 21st century?

REDIRECTED ATTENTION:  Do we continue to support the effect-not-the-cause philosophy of pharmaceuticals or do we vigorously commit to a prevention approach to combat our raging national epidemics of diabetes, obesity, heart disease and hi-blood pressure.

PRIORITIES: Do we show indifference for Mother Earth’s fragile ecosystem; or do we act as mindful stewards of our priceless inheritance?

VALUES:   Do we worship the fleeting Almighty Dollar above all else; or do we instead seek the imperishable currency of God, family and country?

Yes, by any measure this pandemic is a gruesome ordeal, but we have to be open to grow, learn and extract lessons from it. The fabled evangelist Vance Havner said, “God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever.”

Walter Ruehlig


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