It's easy, of course, to focus on the negative aspects of a pandemic. After all, it's all negative, right?
I say no. I actually think there's a bright side to this whole thing. I had to force myself to find it, mind you, and I'm worried we (the collective we) are going to miss it. But, I can at least see it now and have no doubt that COVID has a bright side for all of us.
It's a damn good reminder that we're all the same. On the most basic level, every one of us is a biological being susceptible to attack by all sorts of things, including viruses.
This is always true, of course. Just think of cancer and flu. We all live with the possibility that those killers will impact us every single day. They're different, though. They've established a prevalence that pushes them to the background in our minds, individually and collectively. Knowingly or not, every one of us has accepted the odds that either of those will attack our own body and we go about living our lives.
But a pandemic forces each of us to think about our own susceptibility, and that of the people close to us, every single day. We think about our biological vulnerability in a way that we don't normally do.
Once you realize that, it's not difficult to see the opportunity that's before us. It's natural for people to think about the things that define our differences—race, sex, religion, etc. The pandemic has everyone thinking about the thing that defines our commonality—our biological susceptibility. This brings an incredible opportunity to bring people together. To unite us on a foundation that we all share. To focus our attention and energy on a common target like we've never done before.
We need leadership that recognizes this and leverages it.