- We’ve been living pandemic life for a year now.
- Insider has identified 4 ways we could be living with COVID-19 better, right now.
- Safer travel, savvier surveillance, and well-regulated masks are all areas we can improve, and the results could be huge.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
After a year of pandemic life, better days appear to be on the horizon.
“By July the 4th, there’s a good chance you, your families, and friends will be able to get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a cookout and a BBQ and celebrate Independence Day,” President Biden said Thursday, on the one year anniversary of World Health Organization’s pandemic declaration.
Biden’s projection lines up well with what other experts have said: by this summer, things won’t be perfect, but we will be living life again, reconnecting with family and friends.
Yet the virus will still be with us well beyond then for many, many months to come. Even as tens of millions of vaccines have started to take effect, the relief they provide is muffled by the fact that there are still no great treatments for this coronavirus yet.
“This is not the last pandemic we’re all gonna face, and we will need to do much, much better next time around,” Brown University dean of public health Ashish Jha told reporters on the pandemic’s anniversary this week.
“We just can’t repeat this performance again, it has been so awful,” he said.
Knowing that, here are the four things we could clearly be doing better to live alongside the virus more safely and more tolerably, right now.
There’s no reason that grandparents can’t fly around the country to see their grandkids this summer, with some level of continued vigilance.
“I don’t believe it’s unsafe,” Jha said.
2. Everyone should have cheap and easy at-home COVID-19 test kits.
There is truly no good reason why we don’t.
“We have more than enough technology and ability to have widespread antigen testing available for the American people at probably $3, 4 bucks a pop,” Jha said. “Cheap, easy.”
Let’s make it happen.
3. We should stop wasting time contact tracing for COVID-19.
Contact tracing the coronavirus is a waste of precious resources. Instead, we should focus more on variant surveillance.
Dr. Anthony Fauci calls this a “somewhat inexcusable deficiency.”
Read Insider’s report on how the US should step up its genetic sequencing game — fast — and let the contact tracers of the country do other vitally important work.
4. We should hack-a-thon our way to better masks.
“You have basically an unregulated bunch of products, nobody really knows how they perform,” University of Wisconsin mechanical engineering professor David Rothamer said.
Crowdsourcing creative solutions to such tough design issues is something the federal government has done before. Just ask NASA.