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?

Offense Or Defense?

Which is more important to an effective strategy, a good offense or a good defense?

Share why if you wish.

Offense Or Defense?

What Makes A Perfect Day?

If you can imagine in your mind a perfect day, what exactly would that mean? What are the necessary ingredients?

There are many things that can make a day nice, or pleasant, or even pretty great.

Maybe you wake up feeling particularly refreshed. Or the weather has lots of sun (or even rain, if that is what you prefer). Perhaps you get some good news, or some bit of luck comes your way.

However, what would make a day perfect? What are the components that would need to occur for a day to achieve that lofty adjective?


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘What is one thing you feel the need to do every day?’ We also discuss another question as well, ‘What is truth?’


Or is it the case that we don’t really know what goes into a really wonderful day? Can a day be full of surprises, and be perfect — or at least, fantastic — because of it?

Time spent with loved ones, lovely weather, doing a beloved hobby, helping someone in need, an extra hour in the day — what makes a perfect day?

Related questions: What could you do to gain an hour each day? What was your best day? What do you do with a day off work? Perfect or good enough?

 

Vacation: Somewhere Familiar Or Somewhere New?

When you are planning a vacation, do you like to go somewhere you’ve never been, or somewhere you know and enjoy?

Share why if you wish.

Vacation: Somewhere Familiar Or Somewhere New?

What Are Your Social Rituals?

We humans are social creatures. As such, we find ourselves in social situations often. Are there any rituals you follow, either in preparation or in those situations?

Think about all the social situations you participate in over the course of a few weeks or months. That might include everything from a birthday party, to a sporting event to a nightclub raver. And many, many more possibilities as well, of course.

Now think about each one of those events, from planning, to preparation, to event, to afterward. Can you think of what commonalities they have? Of course, it doesn’t need to be included every single time, but you may have some activities that you do regularly, perhaps even ritualistically.

Besides being social creatures, we are also a species that values rituals. Building a routine comes naturally to us. This has a number of different advantages, including helping us not to forget important steps, as well as in maximizing our enjoyment.

Let’s say, for example, you attend a live music concert, and while you enjoy it, the music was so loud that your ears were ringing afterward. Maybe next time you bring earplugs, and you enjoy that show even more. Then you choose to make it a ritual — each time you go to a concert, you bring along ear plugs. And perhaps even additional pairs for friends that go with you.

These rituals can take any number of forms. Maybe you always wear the same pair of lucky socks. Or make a checklist of things to bring. Perhaps you take a moment in the middle of the event to appreciate what you like about it. Or write about it in a journal afterward so you remember the highlights.

Each person may have slightly — or even wholly — different things they like to do in social situations. Can you think of ones that you do, or that you have seen in a partner, a parent, or a close friend? What are your social rituals?

Related questions: What is the most fun thing you’ve done this week? How important is ceremony? Introvert or extrovert? What is your favorite shared experience?