A pandemic to forget, but learnings to remember forever

Future generations deserve to be in the best position possible to deal with the next inevitable pandemic. This preparation includes regular reminders about what happened in 2020.

Government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization seemingly have the power to capture the public’s attention. Yet even well-intentioned agencies can become manipulated for other purposes. Among the reminders to keep alive is that these institutions must be guarded from corruption, and the prospect of defunding or reorganizing them cannot be taken lightly.

In 1924 Encyclopædia Britannica published a two-volume history of the 20th century thus far. More than 80 authors—professors and politicians, soldiers and scientists—contributed chapters to These Eventful Years: The Twentieth Century in the Making as Told by Many of Its Makers. But the book’s sprawling 1,300 pages never mention the catastrophic influenza pandemic that had killed between 50 million and 100 million people worldwide only five years earlier. And many history textbooks in subsequent decades just note the 1918–1919 flu pandemic as an aside when discussing World War I, if at all.

Photographs, too, could help to build a collective memory of COVID-19. Psychological research has consistently shown that humans’ visual memory is much stronger than our recollection of words or abstract ideas. Thus, widely distributed images can form the backbone of a collective memory, Roediger says.

History is filled with such iconic imagery: American troops raising the flag on Iwo Jima; the Twin Towers collapsing on 9/11; Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem. But “the cameras tend to stop at the door of the sick room or of the hospital,” Spinney notes. “We tend to not go into that space.” Few images show the dramatic symptoms, such as a blue face and bleeding from the ears, suffered by many who contracted the 1918 flu. Similarly, striking photographs that could reinforce collective memory are scarce in today’s news reports of hospitals running over capacity, shortages of personal protective equipment and high death tolls in nursing homes.

To conclude, people who have been forced to live a life that they did not want are in many ways forgotten today. While everyone deals with their own problems and every country tries to protect its own citizens, vulnerable groups such as refugees remain marginalised. No matter what the conditions are around the world, these people must always be supported and kept in mind in order for humanity to win.

we should demonstrate our value and contribution every day, helping to motivate and unify our staff and working with leadership to drive our organizations forward. We will need to fight harder and be more creative in order to sustain interest and engagement once there is less focus on coronavirus and a return to more normal subject matter.  It is essential we do not consign the handling of the coronavirus to the status of a mere case study.

At last, as tagline suggests, we all each and every human in the world would like to forget and get over this COVID-19 as the bygones. Just as we tell ourselves after a bad day to start afresh again. However, this hit is so deep and impactful that, generations will feel affected in one way or another manner.