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If you look hard enough, insights and inspiration can be found.

Finding inspiration at 2am in the era of colliding crises

Today at 2am I learned the following from scanning headlines, on the top of the page accompanied by an eye-catching photo, on The Guardian (US edition) website:

Other headlines called for my attention, including one that wanted me to look at a photo of boys and a puppy and a review of a new Star Trek animated show.

I scanned further down to what is labeled “Opinion.” There I found what makes scanning “the news” (disjointed snippets of activities from across earth) worthwhile.

The title sure caught my attention.

The article is by Michael T Osterholm, a Regents professor and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota and Mark Olshaker, a writer and documentary film-maker. They are the authors of Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs.

Here is an excerpt.

We don’t expect this to be instituted on a national level by the current leadership. But governors on the frontlines understand the economic, social and political crises this virus is causing, not least the illness and deaths. It will therefore fall to them to decide whether to maintain the status quo and watch the number of cases continue to explode, or administer the more aggressive public health measures needed to not only treat cases but prevent spread.

The US has historically been a leader in epidemiology and public health, but now we must look to the example of countries such as South Korea and Singapore and certain EU nations, as well as states like New York, which recognized the challenge earlier; provided honest, effective leadership; and quickly undertook mitigation, testing and contract tracing.

We know that strategic lockdown causes great economic and social pain, and we must be prepared to continue taking care of those who suffer as a result, whatever the price.

My action step in response to the excellent opinion piece is easy for me. I’m in the suffering prevention business. We have a good idea about various forms of suffering in the US, caused by gaps in vital services. I can tell you about survey results focused on gaps in three counties in New Mexico. I can also tell you about heroic local efforts to address those gaps.

As for understanding your city’s and county’s gaps, that would be your action step. Your county and city can implement a survey of residents (parents, youth, elders) to identify the gaps in what we call the five vital services for surviving: medical care, mental health care, food security programs, housing security programs and transportation to vital services.

The gaps, as I have written about extensively here, are shocking. In a pandemic, almost 30% of parents seeking care are lacking easy access to medical care, a huge problem that needs to be addressed immediately in a pandemic. 50% of parents seeking behavioral health care and not easily finding it is a recipe for disaster for our families, with kids at great risk for adverse childhood experiences and trauma. The list of gaps and disparities continues.

So much for reading the news and getting informed. My day ahead includes joining in on the launch of a book club in Taos (their third local club), where city and community stakeholders are reading 100% Community: Ensuring 10 vital services for surviving and thriving. One heck of an action step.

Details to follow. Stay safe, inspired and empowered.

*The future is what we make it. Join the evolution.

Please excuse any typos as I construct an article at 3am on only one cup of Joe. These stories are mine and mine alone. I do not represent any organization here. If one of my illustrations looks like a real human or three-headed hydra, that’s total coincidence. Words and images ©Dominic Cappello but share with everyone you know. Questions? The Plan Forward awaits you here:

A NY Times bestselling author, social justice activist, Oprah guest, co-author of Attack of the Three-Headed Hydras, 100% Community and Anna, Age Eight.

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