America has just passed a grim milestone in the COVID pandemic: over 40 million infected and over 650,000 deaths.
This should have never happened in America, one of the world’s wealthiest nations with the best healthcare system! How could our nation, which represents only 4% of the world’s population, have 25% of the COVID deaths? What went wrong, and will we need to have another shutdown this winter?
As a physician who is involved in taking care of patients every day, I firmly believe that the main reason for our failure in managing this pandemic is the political politicization of a medical issue, which has caused a tremendous amount of confusion about what we should or should not do to protect ourselves, resulting in the tragic loss of many lives and a devastating impact on our economy and livelihood.
This pandemic has in fact revealed an even more “deadly virus” in us, which is the virus of polarization, i.e., as a nation, we are increasingly fixated on our differences rather than appreciating what we all have in common; and we are focused on power alliances rather than the merit of the issue itself.
If we want to prevent another shutdown this winter, we must do one thing, and do it right now: stop politicizing the pandemic and start listening to our doctors!
What is the “vaccine” for this deadly virus of polarization?
It is the seeking of common ground.
What are the areas of common ground for us as Americans? They are our love for this country, our feelings of gratitude for being so blessed to be able to live here–the best country on the planet–and our desire to put our nation’s interests first, ahead of the interests of any political party.
COVID is a medical issue, not a political one. The virus does not care if you are Democratic or Republican; it infects all human beings.
When you get sick, you go to a doctor, you have a medical examination, and you listen to your doctor’s medical advice. Even though no medical treatment is perfect, when we get sick, listening to the advice of our doctors and trusted medical establishments such as NIH, FDA and CDC is still the best choice we can make.
As a doctor who has provided care for patients for over 30 years including our foundation patients from around the world, I am deeply troubled by our country’s failure in managing this pandemic. I want all of us to be reminded that COVID is a virus, a medical issue, and it can only be overcome through science and technology.
Let’s stop politicizing COVID, let’s return our focus to medicine itself, and take care of our people and our nation.