1. Anthony, Maureen PhD, RN

Article Content

As I write this editorial, the COVID-19 epidemic is dominating news coverage and has changed every aspect of life as we knew it. It is early in the epidemic, and by the time this appears in print, much more will have changed. We will know more about this insidious invader, but there will still be a lot to learn. Scientists will continue working in record time on clinical trials and on developing a vaccine, although we are told a vaccine is at least a year away. Tragically, if predictions are accurate, the loss of life will be far greater than what we have already experienced. Sadly, we will all likely know someone who lost their life to COVID-19.

Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.

I also believe this unprecedented public health crisis has changed us as a country for the better. It has brought people together more so than any event since World War II. There is an overwhelming and heart-warming respect and gratitude for frontline healthcare providers-nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists, nurse assistants, and first responders. People in my community have placed hearts in windows to honor healthcare workers. A movement has started to flash a light toward your nearest hospital at 8 p.m. every night, and I see blue ribbons in honor of healthcare providers' heroic efforts being tied on trees all around town.


We will be so much better prepared for another epidemic. I know I will never again be without a large supply of antiseptic wipes, hand sanitizer and yes, toilet paper. I suspect every healthcare worker will maintain their own supply of masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment. We will never again think something like this can't happen here. Federal, state, and local officials will have valuable knowledge and experience upon which to build a solid infrastructure to stop another epidemic or pandemic in its tracks.


The Class of 2020 will have stories to tell their children and grandchildren. They may not have the traditional pomp and circumstance graduation ceremonies, but they will have their own unique (probably virtual) celebrations. They'll be interviewed by journalists on anniversary years for decades to come. Despite their senior year being cut short, they will be bonded with their classmates more so than any other graduating class in history.


Most importantly, COVID-19 has taught us is to never again take health and safety for granted. A heartfelt thank you to each and every healthcare worker and first responder who worked so hard and sacrificed so much to protect us all.

Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.