The Coronavirus Pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic has sent waves of fear across the globe. It is a dangerous moment. We are benumbed by the dizzying statistics of new cases and the number of deaths popping up all over the world. What is it? It is a novel virus named for the crownlike spikes that protrude from its surface. It can infect both animals and people and can cause various illnesses and can be fatal. How contagious is it? Very. The top government infectious disease expert says “We’re at a critical point now. The worst is yet ahead for us.” It’s no time for happy talk. The deeper systemic societal health and economic problems are ignored. When the crisis subsides, we must examine those issues.
Dr. Stephen Bezruchka is on the faculty of the Department of Global Health and the Department of Health Services at the University of Washington. He worked for many years as an emergency physician in Seattle. He worked in Nepal for more than a decade where he helped set up a community health project a week’s walk from the road. He also established a remote district hospital for training Nepali doctors whom he supervised.