I want to build a case for faith and hope — faith in knowing that within our global collective in times past and in the most challenging moments, there always arose great innovators, dreamers and “imagineers” who pushed humanity forward with their novel ideas, scientific breakthroughs and life-saving innovations. From the invention of penicillin to chemotherapy, we see how human potential finds its fullest expression in the midst of history’s darkest hours. Cultural points of inflection prompted by disasters, wars, plagues and disease brought us to revolutionary discoveries that went on to strengthen humanity for generations.
From the Athenian flu pandemic in 403 A.D., to the spread of leprosy in the 11th century, to the black death in the 14th, bubonic plague in the 15th, the spread of syphilis and smallpox in the 16th, the Great Plague of London in the 17th, the measles, mumps, and Russian flu epidemics of the 18th, the outbreaks of tuberculosis and cholera in the 19th, and the spread of Spanish flu, Asian flu, bird flu, AIDS/HIV, and Ebola in the 20th and 21st centuries, infectious diseases have always threatened to wipe out humanity. Yet we have always overcome with greater wisdom, compassion and resilience.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) is a communicable disease. Communicable diseases existed during humankind’s hunter-gathering days, but when mankind began to create more sophisticated communities and city-states, forging new trade routes to connect communities, cities, regions and countries, this made the spread of such communicable diseases more possible. The more civilized humans became, the more connectivity we enjoyed, the more the threat of pandemic diseases increased. Before the discovery of medical interventions, pandemics such as cholera, influenza, tuberculosis, measles, smallpox and, more recently, HIV/AIDS, wiped out large percentages of the global population.
Now that the current coronavirus has spread to dozens of countries around the world, it has also officially become “pandemic.” In the realm of infectious diseases, a pandemic is the rapid global spread of disease to a large number of people within a short period of time over several countries or continents, signifying a worst-case scenario. Yet, even as previous pandemics alerted the way we think and do life as a species, the coronavirus presents new cultural, social, spiritual, financial, economic, commercial, geo-political and governmental challenges that lead us again to an opportunity to push humanity forward.
My intention in presenting an overview of history and other facts is to build a case for hope. Humanity has always found a way forward, and this threat will only continue to push us forward as a global human family. The world into which we were born no longer exists. There is a demand for new industry-specific thought leadership and workforce skill sets. Our educational institutions must prepare students for workplace demands and global employability. I believe the educational space should focus more on the needs within the marketplace for critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and less about merely bestowing degrees. The 4th Industrial Revolution is here. The future is now.
The novel coronavirus is a new communicable disease that is demonstrating sustained person-to-person transmission and is spreading like an uncontrollable wildfire through our communities. What should our faith-based response be?
– Create cultures of awareness and empowerment
- Follow the medical advice and health protocols outlined by the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO). Information is power!
- Educate and inform to mitigate fear and to help people engage in self-care and other health protocols:
- Be aware, but don’t be afraid
- Strengthen your immune system (get proper rest/sleep; eat a diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin D [go outside and get some sunlight], selenium and zinc)
- Eat nutritionally dense foods (a predominantly plant-based diet including vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes)
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
- Observe non-pharmaceutical interventions such as:
- Hygiene—wash hands frequently with soap and water. When soap and water aren’t readily accessible, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers that are at least 60% alcohol to decontaminate hands. Keep unwashed hands from eyes, nose and mouth.
- Social Distancing—use social distancing measures as much as possible by avoiding large gatherings of people; minimize travel; minimize contact with those who have fever/flu/respiratory symptoms. Self-quarantine if symptoms arise.
- Environmental Cleanliness—frequently decontaminate shared surfaces such as doorknobs, phones, keyboards, appliances, tabletops, and counters with disinfectant.
– Get involved with problem-solving and crisis management discussions
– Help establish public protocols that will make us bio-tech savvy
- As technology advances at a quantum pace, we must acquire new industry-specific behaviors and protocols.
- New protocols and procedures might include, for example, telehealth or telemedicine. New healthcare delivery mechanisms are demanded during this type of pandemic. People with respiratory symptoms/complaints should not report to crowded emergency rooms. Instead, patients should be assessed via telemedical tools used remotely with the patient in one locale and the examining physician in another, which will facilitate quarantining measures.
– Lobby government to create biosecurity/bio-safety measures
- Create regulatory statues and laws
- Draft new public policies
- Rethink healthcare mechanisms
- Increase funding for public health
- Currently, there is no vaccine or medication for the coronavirus. If increased funding were available beforehand to the public health sector, which addresses a range of matters including chronic disease prevention, bioterrorism, and emergency preparedness, headway could have already been made toward coronavirus vaccine development. Instead, scientists are scrambling to create a vaccine amid the pandemic. This scenario illustrates how chronic underfunding of public health has consequently caused health practitioners to function in a reactionary manner versus taking a proactive approach to disease prevention and management.
– Re-evaluate communication delivery systems when a temporary moratorium is placed on community gatherings
- Develop engaging/interactive multimedia opportunities online
- Establish virtual/augmented reality platforms
- Capitalize on/expand the use of e-church programming
– Equip parishioners and congregants to think of themselves as industry-specific problem solvers
– Create inter-organization and intra-organization response teams
- Be response ready
- Work with healthcare professionals
- Deploy, pray for, and support government/social agencies, etc.
- Prayer is not only a spiritual weapon but also a practical weapon
- In an age of technology, faith is a spiritual technology with long term, social, spiritual, economic, political, and cultural implications
- Pray for healthy immune systems
- Pray for caregivers and health professionals
- Pray for our governments and government agencies
- Pray for a medical/scientific breakthrough
- Pray for a cure, recovery, and healing miracles
- Pray for our communities, institutions, and nations of the world
As a faith-based community, we have a powerful voice — both a social and political voice, as well as a spiritual voice. We can speak with wisdom into the institutions and systems of this world as boldly as we pray for wisdom. Now is the time to lift up our voice and make it heard on behalf of humanity in both government halls and heavenly realms. The world needs the wisdom, compassion, and counsel of God’s people.
In my dreams I see a world filled with visionaries, innovators and dreamers who push humanity forward and inspire others to do the same. I am a believer. I believe in who we are as people — as creative beings — and that we should never sell ourselves short of our true potential. Together, we can win the war against the coronavirus and any present or future malevolent force that threatens our existence.
Cindy Trimm has dedicated her life to serving God and humanity. A best-selling author, Trimm is a sought-after empowerment specialist, revolutionary thinker and transformational leader. Her best-selling books "The Prayer Warrior’s Way;" "The Art of War for Spiritual Battle;" "Hello, Tomorrow!;" "Commanding Your Morning" and her most recent book, "Goodbye, Yesterday!" have sold more than one million copies combined.