How Do We Prepare For The Next Pandemic?

As we mark the fourth year since the COVID-19 virus upended our lives, it seems appropriate to ask: are we better prepared for a pandemic now than we were in early 2020? What lessons did we learn, and how can we be prepared for the next one?

With the benefit of hindsight, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic was remarkable. Yes, in the early days there was a lot of confusion and conflicting information. No doubt, there was trauma that still persists to this day.

Of course, that is unavoidable with something that spread so quickly and proved so deadly. However, the speed at which the scientific community determined how the virus was spread was remarkable. Even more remarkable was how quickly an effective vaccine was created and distributed.

While much remains unknown, one thing that is certain is that this pandemic will not be the last one we will experience. Over the last century, we have seen multiple pandemics, from the Spanish Flu about 100 years ago, to AIDS/HIV, to COVID-19 (and others as well). It seems likely that climate change will increase the likelihood of new infections. There is also the potential for antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

With that in mind, it makes sense for us to be prepared for the next outbreak. What did you, personally, learn from the experience with COVID-19? What did our local, state, and federal governments learn? The international community?

Pandemic fatigue is real, and it effects us all, to varying extents. However, the next outbreak is a matter of when and not if, so it makes sense to think about what we can do to be ready when it does eventually happen.

Related questions: COVID-19? How do you want this to change you? How do you evaluate risk? Will technology save us?

Can You Be Critical Of A Country You Love?

When it comes to showing your love for a country, is it better to have unconditional love, or are you allowed to be critical?

Unconditional love can be very powerful, indeed. Wedding vows are for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. In other words, unconditionally. A mother’s love for a child can stay strong regardless of the child’s behavior. And a pet doesn’t care about your looks, your job, or any other superficial characteristics.

However, those are all examples of the love one individual feels for another. Does that kind of love carry over to entities, like nations or brands? Should it?

On the other hand, being critical is, in it’s own way, and act of love. If you love something, like a country, you want it to be the best it can be. In order to improve, you might have to point out potential areas of improvement, and that may take the form of criticism.

But criticism doesn’t always come from a place of love. It can also come from resentment, or jealousy, or any number of other motivations. Is there an easy way to determine one way of being critical from another?

Some pundits and politicians denounce any criticism as being disrespectful. Is that valid, and/or is it helpful? Admittedly, it can be difficult to tell a loving critique from an attack, particularly when you are emotionally invested. If I love my country, and you offer a complaint against that country, doesn’t that complaint carry over to me, at least a little bit?

Can you be critical of a country that you love?

Related questions: What does it mean to be patriotic? What is patriotic behavior? When should you criticize someone? What do you love about your country?

 

Politics: Local Or National?

When it comes to politics, which do you pay more attention to: politics at the local level, or at the national level? Which one is more important?

Share why if you wish.

Politics: Local Or National?

How Would You Describe Your Civic Life?

Civic life can vary drastically from person to person, and from town to town. Are you active in your local community?

In our lives, there is some level of civic engagement.Even if you live out in the country, there are some services that are provided by the nearby town that benefit you.

The exact amount varies from person to person. While one person might have children in the public school system, another may check out books from the local library. You might serve on a town committee of some sort, or just organize a block party for your neighbors.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss a related question: ‘What makes a place feel like home?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What beliefs do you have that might be wrong?’


There are some civic services that benefit everyone, like local roads we all drive on, or trash and recycling collection that is done on a weekly basis. What other services do you take advantage of?

Some people are simply good members of the town they inhabit. That might mean shopping a locally-owned stores rather than national chains or online outlets. Or it might mean picking up trash at a local park, or helping out a neighbor in some way.

There is also actual engagement in local politics. This runs the gamut from voting in town elections, to serving on select committees or attending forums to discuss issues that impact your neighborhood or city.

There are many ways of being a member in the town or city where you live. Which ones are meaningful or important to you? How would you describe your civic life?

Related questions: What are our responsibilities to others? What role should the government play in our lives? Why do you live where you live? Urban, suburban, or rural?