The COVID-19 outbreak has changed our collective outlook when it comes to health and wellness. While we are long overdue for an overhaul, it is fair to wonder if the changes that are being made are actually going to last. Most of us have already started to wash our hands more and the rush to stock up on hand sanitizer is self-explanatory.
The hospitals in our communities are working tirelessly to take care of us. Telemedicine is also playing a crucial role in keeping us healthy at the present moment. Drug companies are working tirelessly to come up with a more permanent solution and we are watching these developments closely.
This is all well and good in the moment but what is going to happen tomorrow? Are we going to revert to the old ways of doing things or is health care going to change forever? The behaviors and attitudes that are getting us through the pandemic need to remain in place in the months and years to come.
For starters, hospitals are going to need to change the way that they do things. Before the outbreak took place, many were pushing to reduce the number of hospital beds that were available. It is safe to say that this initiative was not a successful one and no one is going to be supporting anyone with these types of ideas once the pandemic has passed.
Doctors were claiming that the country had too many hospital beds at their disposal as recently as six years ago. These sorts of claims seem borderline ridiculous in retrospect. This is a country that clearly does not have enough hospital beds for a crisis scenario. We have been exposed by the coronavirus pandemic in this regard.
For a country that spends billions on healthcare, we are woefully unprepared. Hospitals have already been pushing back against these assertions and now they have all of the evidence that they need. The alarmist doctors who were acting like the nation already has enough hospital beds are probably feeling more than a little sheepish right now.
Medical professionals really thought that we were going to pivot away from hospital care and focus more on treating clients outside of these parameters. Hindsight is always 20/20 but how did anyone not sound the alarm bells then? We are now in the midst of a global pandemic and we are being forced to watch hospitals fill up without an end in sight.
[W]e are having a different burden of disease than the burden of disease that we would’ve seen 20 years ago and certainly 50 years ago and 100 years ago. What we are now seeing is that people don’t tend to die as children of infectious diseases. They don’t tend to die during their adult years of infectious diseases, they don’t tend to have accidents as much. If they have a heart attack, we can usually treat it and cure it and people survive. As a result, the diseases that we’re seeing are chronic diseases associated with aging populations, but also with poor lifestyle behaviors.
Non COVID-19 patients are even being moved to other locations to receive medical care. We should be crying out for more beds and we hope that the talks of fewer beds have been ended forever. Hospitals should be trending in the opposite direction but it remains to be seen as to whether the trend will hold once we are out of the woods.
It is easy to say all of the right things right now but what happens when we are not scared for our lives? This is going to be the true test. Everyone who is fighting for our hospitals at the moment will need to be prepared to keep fighting in the future. Let’s make sure that the positive changes that are being made now are able to hold up over the long haul.
This has altered the course of history in the world, this has changed American life and global life. We’re going to have more cleaning of shared surfaces, we’re going to have restrictions on how many people can crowd into an elevator, Ubers and airplanes are going to be averaging the deep cleanings that they do, we’re going to be seeing more ultraviolet light [to kill germs] in indoor settings, we’re going to see copper [also to kill germs] used on shared surfaces.
Otherwise, we are going to be left in the same position that we are in right now. Obviously, a global pandemic is not going to take place on a regular basis but they happen often enough. We should have been prepared and we were not. All we can do now is accept the mistakes that have been made and work tirelessly to make them a thing of the past.
How is this crisis going to affect the way that we handle telehealth concerns? This is another fair question. Patients need to be able to receive assistance in all scenarios. The telehealth stocks are currently soaring and for good reason. This crisis has exposed the need for continued progress in this regard. The barriers are being lifted and we are glad to see it.
Pharmaceuticals are also going to change. Individual companies are taking the necessary steps to make sure that we are provided with the medications and vaccines that we need. Big Pharma is not going to swoop in to save us. The individual companies are where we are placing our bets. Whether the pandemic actually changes the way that Big Pharma handles issues of this nature is an open question but we have all of the faith in the world in the aforementioned companies.