Pandemic update

The Fall semester is upon us. Sometime late in the term, the third anniversary of patient zero will be upon us. Life here in DC seems almost pre-pandemic these days: restaurants are full, traffic is impossible and our campus is filling up with students ready for in-person classes. Almost the same as 2020, but not fully. Zoom and its software twins are here to stay it seems. The office buildings are far from full and that means that small businesses which catered to the denizens of office blocks are hurting. Many have closed. The mask is still on many faces and seems to be still be a common piece of litter on city streets. And we are still awaiting both the next variant and the next booster. But socially, from what I’ve seen in my travels, the West seems to have moved on. The situation in Asia is less clear.

I’m teaching a class about managing large crises for our graduate students in public policy this semester. What happened with COVID is a perfect example of how bad management of a health crisis can be globally consequential–not only in terms of public health, but also economically. We need to very carefully consider retrospectively the pandemic from the standpoint of crisis management lessons because this won’t be our only rodeo. Climate disruption will only increase the frequency of zoonotic transfer from animal viral reservoirs to humans.