By HANS DUVEFELT, MD
From the vantage point of our self-quarantined shrunken universes, we cannot see even the immediate future, let alone what our personal and professional lives will look like some years from now.
Factories are closed, luxury department stores are in bankruptcy, hospitals have stopped performing elective procedures and patients are having their heart attacks at home, unattended by medical professionals. New York office workers may continue to work from home while skyscrapers stand empty and city tax revenues evaporate.
Quarantined and furloughed families are planting gardens and cooking at home. Affluent families are doing their own house cleaning and older retirees are turning their future planning away from aggregated senior housing and assisted living facilities.
In healthcare, procedure performing providers who were at the pinnacle of the pecking order sit idle while previously less-valued cognitive clinicians are continuing to serve their patients remotely, bringing in revenues that prop up hospitals and group practices.
The social experiment we stumbled into has already demonstrated the value of self-sufficiency and it has started to shake the notion that our society can continue to rely on the medical system to fix just about any medical problem we might develop. Self-care and prevention seem like more powerful pieces of our individual plans for our future wellbeing.
I believe this is an unstoppable trend and I hope it will make us a healthier people.
Thinking back very briefly at influenza, our old scourge, didn’t we rely so completely on the vaccine, which is at most 50% effective in preventing the disease, that we did less than we could of commonsensical hand washing and social distancing?
Didn’t we, because of America’s denial of the wisdom of staying home when you’re sick, as it is manifested in the lack of sick days for many workers and the much celebrated “work ethic” of our