In every crisis, there is an opportunity. The opportunity in this crisis is that people finally understand that many customs in which society engages are barbaric and, unknowingly, serve to spread disease, all disease, not just Wuhan Virus. For example, handshaking. What a stupid custom. Who knows where the hand of the person you are meeting was five minutes before? Now a nod of the head and a smile will do. That will become, thankfully, the new way of greeting. Also, no more social hugging or social two-cheek kissing. Imagine how much of the disease those customs spread.
The new social norms will lead to reduced sicknesses, reduced hospitalizations and substantially lower societal healthcare costs. Now that is a silver lining, especially with aging populations in the United States, and especially in Europe.
Another “bright side” is the explosion of medical innovation that the current all hands on deck research will spawn. Indeed, many breakthroughs that may have nothing directly to do with treating COVID-19 will emerge because of the increased funding and round the clock research. Such innovation also will save lives, improve outcomes, and as a result, save money.
But perhaps the best outcome will be the wider understanding of the dangers of globalism and of offshoring critical manufacturing. More medicine, more equipment, more of everything the United States needs to survive and thrive will be made in America. We have learned not to be dependent on China or any other foreign supplier for important goods and services. Who cares about saving 10 percent on the cost of Advil or on masks and gloves when the whole economy is subject to foreign disruptions and foreign-caused illnesses? That is a false economy: save a dime, but put millions of Americans out of work and spend $2.2 trillion and counting.
Also, open borders are a thing of the past. Borders matter; those allowed into the country must be medically cleared. It is neither racist nor xenophobic to wish to control who is permitted to enter. It is simply common sense . . . and America, even so-called “progressives”, will have to embrace that notion.
Jay Zawatsky is the CEO of HavePower LLC and an adjunct professor at Montgomery College.