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  • Writer's pictureRaven

The Only Way Through This Pandemic Is With A Fully Informed Public

Updated: Aug 10, 2020

Lockdowns will not be eased or lifted effectively unless and until the majority of us are on the same page about:

  • how COVID-19 manifests.

  • it's symptoms, its variability and how to keep safe those of us with existing health conditions.

  • how to effectively minimize the risk of infection in our communities.

  • we have effectively re-imagined systems for working together and interacting with each other safely.

  • we have learned more about how to effectively care for each other's health and well-being, and care for ourselves when we are sick and or struggling.

The following 3 areas are of critical importance in achieving these aims. Developing social solidarity, effective communication and education and further development of our countries (and global) diagnostic testing and viral detection systems. Finally more widespread comprehension of immunity and the tools, methods and techniques available for improving human immunity.

Social Solidarity

We are one species, living on one planet - we are in this together and the state of humanity's health - affects us all. On many levels. We have a 'self' because there are 'others'. If others are struggling, it impacts us; whether on a subliminal level in terms of increased stress, or on a material level in that we depend on those who make, deliver and ensure we have access to goods and services and in our health and the health of our communities. Our actions have impacts. Our state-of-being affects those around us and our choices have consequences. It makes what we do, all that much more important. It makes ethical decisions a priority. We need a public that is willing and interested in acting in a coordinated empathic fashion in solidarity with each other to protect life.

We are working on this. My hope is that we will get there soon without repressive measures, without compromising human rights, without authoritarian or tyrannical rule. But we will need more education and more comprehensive communication methods for reaching all areas of our world and populations.

Embodying the changes we want to see in the world. Or as Mahatma Gandhi said, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." It is up to all of us to face our fears, and lean into caring, compassionate, cooperative actions and facilitate awareness. We must take care of ourselves so we can take care of each other and vice versa.

On my street, a number of children in quarantine have filled up their windows with their drawings of the sun and rainbows with the message, 'Stay home. Take care of each other. All will be well'. It's that kind of care, creativity, warmth, communication, solidarity and reassurance that we need more of.

Education & Communication

We will need and we are working on, developing the education and skills for thinking critically about and assessing our sources of information.

"Timely, evidence-based information is the best vaccine against rumours and misinformation." -Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, Deputy Director of PAHO

Our educators will need to level up our collective comprehension of scientific methods and discernment in understanding scientific findings. Greater public health information is in high demand right now, as we all adapt to and learn about how our bodies work under stress, illness and in states of well-being.

Our communications systems require a lot of diverse messaging and approaches to reach the full spectrum of our human diversity. We come to the information that shapes our lives through many means. Those of us lucky enough to have access to the internet, are incredibly privileged to have a whole universe of information at our fingertips but it is so massive that none of us are fully equipped to filter all the information coming at us effectively. Media literacy is also of tremendous importance right now.

Our governments* need to refine their messaging to be exquisitely clear, conscientious and honest about the realities we are facing. Never before has public trust been so important. Discussion and debate are vital, but this isn't theoretical politics, every public policy decision has short and long term health consequences for everyone. We can't afford government negligence or apathy. Public trust and participation are lost when there isn't transparency and effective leadership.

Diagnostic Testing & Immunity

Current tests are not yet widely available enough to ensure we have a sense of who is sick, who may have already recovered and who is well. Further, there are inconsistencies among the test methods being used around the world, because in the scramble to develop testing kits and anti-body testing, methods have been rushed into use, with relatively little comparative efficacy analysis. George Rutherford, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), told Live Science that "The market's been flooded with these tests.{...} But the FDA has relaxed its rules so there's not the same degree of quality control."

We are facing a reality where a person can be carrying the virus and be contagious without showing any signs, and yet we need to be able to rapidly and effectively assess our health to help stop the spread. Testing capacity needs to catch up to our collective needs. The sensitivity of diagnostic testing also needs to increase - to ensure and prevent relapses of those who appear to be recovered, yet who may still have the virus in their system and it's just below detection levels in the tests we are currently using.

Lastly, our medical understanding of the human immune system is about to take a giant leap forward as we grapple with the challenges and unknowns of this virus and its impact on the human body and population. In the coming months, we are going to be faced with a daunting number of "experts" and excessive amounts of information on immunity, boosting immunity, immuno-suppression and immuno-compromised conditions. Proceed to digest this information with caution. Fear and desperation have a way of clouding our critical thinking and the unscrupulous take advantage of our collective desire for solutions at moments like these. Seek out grounded sources of information upon which to make life choices, that are reviewed, verified, peer-reviewed and vetted by other professionals.

Please do investigate the motives, interests and personal investments of those proposing quick fixes and COVID-19 "cures".

Be well. Stay safe. Stay connected.

Raven Taylor


Raven is a licensed massage therapist and teacher; currently self-isolating and applying her other skills to address the social health challenges of the pandemic. Her knowledge of health, wellness and trauma come mainly from massage therapy and bodywork, however, she has also completed World Health Organization training to support COVID-19, country preparedness and response and studied Communications and Sociology with a public health focus at Simon Fraser University. The opinions expressed in this article are exclusively the informed opinions of the author and do not reflect the policy, stances or opinions of any other association, organization or decision-making body.

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