“What If…”

Guest Post by Alexandra Gamarra, scholar and artist extraordinaire. 

What if suddenly, out of nowhere–could possibly be tomorrow, or whenever we wouldn’t expect it, we had an outbreak of a disease? Would we be ready? How would we prepare for this ordeal? With all the panic around the world, would the government and health authorities know what to do right away? Or would they panic as well and would we all be doomed?  It’s a very frightening thought, right?

From past pandemics in history, we all learned that a disease can really spread fast and we must protect ourselves. We must be aware when there’s a pandemic around the world, and we must use universal precautions. It is extremely important for healthcare professionals to protect themselves while caring for patients.  The CDC, the nation’s leading public health agency dedicated to protecting the health of Americans, educates and trains doctors in the use of protection, disposal of personal protective equipment and other issues.  Healthcare professionals should always put their personal safety first. Doctors must do their job to protect themselves with proper gear, not exposing their health to an unknown disease.  They must be aware and prepared in order to save lives. 


The timing of a pandemic in society today is unknown.  One year, five years, ten years from now–we don’t know when it will happen. Experts have no doubt some pandemic will occur, the only question being when.  We do not know what the impact of a new pandemic could be.  There is nothing like a best estimate scenario for its likelihood or for the frequency.  The only possibility is to work with “what if” scenarios with different levels of severity.  It seems really scary to think about it, but it won’t be as bad as past pandemics.  I believe we are now better prepared for a pandemic. 

I wouldn’t know EXACTLY how we will do better when it comes to preparing ourselves for pandemics, but I believe the United States and world would do everything possible.  After many years of alerts and expectations, most countries should now have preparedness plans and the capacity of manufacturing vaccines should have increased sharply.  Large stocks of antiviral drugs have been produced and procured. We would be aware of the pandemic as soon as possible and be able to prevent diseases from spreading to anyone else by taking precautions and quarantining the sick. 


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