2020 was a grueling, difficult year all over the world, packed full of painful but important lessons. Most everyone is rightfully eager to put the year behind them and move on, but there have been some useful lessons that are worth carrying forward as we move on from this trying year.
One of the most obviously visible changes wrought by the pandemic’s arrival are all the hygiene and health precautions, from daily habits like regular hand-washing and mask wearing to the more pervasive use of sneeze guards to the more extreme measures like temperature checks and lockdown rules. While many of these measures will no longer be necessary, many others cost little and have great efficacy against more than just the coronavirus. If wearing a mask on long flights became common courtesy rather than strange behavior, many future pandemics could be stopped before they ever even started.
From school to work to doctor’s appointments, many things moved to distance options during the pandemic. While it was a necessary evil for the time being, it could be a great opportunity for the future. If working from home were an easy option for when you’re feeling even a little but sniffly, we would see smaller and less deadly flu seasons as well as other accessibility benefits.
Sick Leave and Healthcare Reform
One of the most painful problems is also the most difficult to solve. The current system of sick leave forced many people to choose between putting food on the table and putting their country at risk. On top of that, many people lost healthcare coverage when businesses inevitably closed down and people were laid off. Reform is clearly needed, but in order for that to happen, people will need to keep pressure on their representatives and not forget the lessons this crisis teaches.
Public Health Protocols
In many ways, a failed public health response does much more than a successful one to teach the public about the health protocols that ought to keep them safe. Building a robust response plan and maintaining backup supplies of masks and other PPE is work that goes unappreciated until someone lets those protocols lax.
No one wants another 2020. For that reason, it’s important to learn from the painful lessons learned during this long, strange year. If we take some of these safety precautions and make them permanent, then we can rest easy knowing that it’s that much harder to see a repeat of all the mistakes that were made this year.