Tucson Opinion: Advantage Over COVID-19: We’re Prepared for Reality | Local editorials and opinion

There is no consolation for the victims of COVID-19. Dates mean nothing to the mourners.

But if a pandemic has something like “advantages”, we can now take a deep breath and finally walk upright and with optimism.

Humanity that emerged from 20 months of loneliness and strife is now ready for the big one. The scientists got it right. It took tremors to prepare for an impending quake.

Our team at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Biorepository was one of hundreds who designed test kits and used them with students, staff, and visitors, and observed the work of our colleagues around the world.

We have worked on evaluating virus sequences, developing tests, conducting hundreds of clinical studies, developing vaccines, and providing solutions. It is with no small pride that I will remind you that we did it at the speed of light.

Whether or not you agree with how your school district, city or state government handled the information is secondary. We were exposed to the toil and splendor of others. At the same time, we witnessed the political pettiness and deception of practitioners of pseudoscience and misinformation.

That’s why I’m optimistic:

Scientists use the “death rate” to measure deaths per number of reported cases. That means that the 1918 Spanish flu, which killed six in 1,000 people, was four times more deadly than COVID-19, whose 500,000 deaths made up about 0.15 percent of our population. Ebola, MERS, SARS and avian flu, which had neither the penetration nor the absolute numbers of infected people, were dramatically higher per capita. The same goes for Black Death and Justinian Plague.

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