It is fitting that the corona-virus pandemic hit in the year 2020, because the most common activity to engage in this year has been to look back in hindsight as if we have all the answers. Hindsight is 2020, and 2020 is in fact hindsight. There are many people who are telling us what we should have done, but none of those people were telling us what we should have done when we should have done it. They are telling us what we should have done now, much later then when it needed to be done. It is easy to look back and point fingers at our leaders. But as the old saying goes, when you point one finger, there are four pointing right back at you.
This lack of preparedness does not fall solely on our leaders. It also falls on the people who have elected our leaders over the last 30 to 40 years. Over the last 3 to 4 decades, has there been one question in any politician debate dealing with pandemic preparedness? And if there was one or two questions, that number is just a fraction of a percent of the amount of questions about twenty to thirty other issues. It just was not on our radar. It is now, but now is too late. Pandemic preparedness was not on anybody’s list of important issues when deciding who to vote for. In fact, any candidate who put pandemic preparedness as one of their top campaign issues would have lost big-time, whether it be in a Presidential election, Senatorial or Congressional elections. The candidate who emphasized spending hundreds of millions of dollars for pandemic preparedness would have lost, and lost soundly. Not only what they have lost, but the media and most of the voters would have painted that politician as extreme, out of touch, crazy, and even hyper-paranoid.
So our lack of preparedness does not fall solely on our politicians, but also falls on the people who voted for those politicians, us. And I do not blame our leaders, and the voters for our lack of preparedness because this pandemic is a once in a lifetime, if that, type of situation. It is as if Martians landed back in January, and we are complaining that we should have expected their arrival, and have been completely prepared to deal with it.
This is a novel virus, meaning brand new. There are many important characteristics of this virus that the experts did not know, but needed to know to help make the correct decisions in dealing with this at the time. We were learning on the run. And there is still a lot we do not know. And because it occurs so rarely, it was never on the forefront of our mind, and it was never something we took as serious as we should have until it hit. That is human nature. And that is understandable. Just as it is human nature to point fingers in hindsight at everyone else but ourselves.