4 lessons the US learned from the COVID-19 pandemic

The long-term lessons America learns from the coronavirus pandemic will spell life or death.

  • As the US commences its early stages of COVID-19 vaccinations, Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health, argues that now is not the time to relax. "There are lessons to be learned by systems like ours based upon our experience," says Dowling, adding that "we know what these lessons are, and we're working on them."
  • The four major takeaways that Dowling has identified are that the United States was unprepared and slow to react, that we need a domestic supply chain so that we aren't relying on other countries, that there needs to be more domestic and international cooperation, and that leadership roles in public health must be filled by public health experts.
  • If and when another pandemic hits (in the hopefully distant future), the country—and by extension the world—will be in a much better place to deal with it.
Learn more about Northwell's pandemic response here.
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What is the purpose of universities?

For centuries, universities have advanced humanity toward truth. Professor Jonathan Haidt speaks to why college campuses are suddenly heading in the opposite direction.

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  • In a lecture at UCCS, NYU professor Jonathan Haidt considers the 'telos' or purpose of universities: To discover truth.
  • Universities that prioritize the emotional comfort of students over the pursuit of truth fail to deliver on that purpose, at a great societal cost.
  • To make that point, Haidt quotes CNN contributor Van Jones: "I don't want you to be safe ideologically. I don't want you to be safe emotionally. I want you to be strong—that's different."
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Survey shows Congress is more religious than America

A new survey shows who believes what and how it differs from what Americans believe as a whole.

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  • The newest survey of congressional religious beliefs shows our representatives aren't quite like us.
  • Members of Congress are much more religious and more Christian than the general population.
  • The effects of this disconnect are debatable.
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Want Americans to graduate college? Make it affordable.

Research from MIT's School Effectiveness & Inequality Initiative found making college more affordable cut dropout rates and boosted degree attainment.

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  • Many of the fastest-growing jobs in the U.S. require a postsecondary education, while college tuition rates continue to climb.
  • Recent research finds that making college more affordable improves bachelor degree attainment.
  • Aid recipients who benefit most are students from historically underrepresented groups.
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    Telehealth will save lives—for as long as it has funding

    The federal government and private insurers greatly increased Americans' telehealth access during the pandemic. Will these changes be permanent?

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    • When telehealth visits began skyrocketing after the pandemic began, hospitals had to increase their number of virtual appointments by magnitudes. Most did it seamlessly.
    • Big Think spoke to Dr. Martin Doerfler, senior vice president of clinical strategy and development at Northwell Health, about this transition and how it benefited patients.
    • Telehealth has proven its value during the pandemic, but it might stop evolving unless the federal government redesigns the regulatory framework so that insurers cover it and patients can afford it.
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