Blog Post: How Do We Deal With a Worldwide Pandemic?

Linda Elder
Mar 14, 2020 • 73d ago
How Do We Deal With a Worldwide Pandemic?

{"ops":[{"insert":"In the 1980’s a number of important theoreticians, education leaders, and scholars, including Richard Paul and Robert Reich, warned us about the interwoven problems we were to face in the future given increasing interdependence, accelerating change, and intensifying complexity. We were also warned then about the importance of cultivating critical thinking across the populace if we were to survive into our future.\n\nThat future is here and now. The pandemic we are facing, the corona virus, exemplifies one of the many highly complex and difficult problems humans must now routinely deal with. We likely face further, perhaps significant spread of this virus, and it is clear that in many ways we are failing the test of critical thinking. People are disseminating and believing disinformation they read through social media. The mainstream media is as usual, sensationalizing. Hysteria is setting in as all manner of food, supplies and even alcohol fly off the store shelves.\n\nWhen we use the tools of critical thinking, we can more effectively deal with the problems we face, of course. But how do we apply them in complex cases such as this? How do we work through these cases, which requires reasoned judgment all along the way, and the consideration of many, sometimes conflicting variables and viewpoints.\n\nFirst, it behooves us to consider all the important questions in the question cluster we are dealing with. Our primary question, from which all other questions emerge is:\n\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"How should we best deal with the Corona Virus now, to have the fewest number of cases overall in the longer run, and the lowest mortality rate from the virus?"},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\nHere are some of the many questions we would need to answer to answer the broader question above, in categories (many more questions emanate from these questions):\n\n"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"Biological/Scientific/Medical"},{"insert":"\n1.    What do the most reliable facts tell us about this virus and how dangerous it is, or is likely to be? (make sure the sources you rely on are authoritative)\n2.    How many people have died from the virus?\n3.    How many people do we know tested positive for the virus, but did not die?\n4.    How can we find the most up-to-date facts coming from disinterested scientists, researchers, scholars and medical professionals?\n5.    What is the best method of treatment for people with this virus?\n6.    Are some methods of treatment superior to other methods, according to, for example, age group, or medical background?\n7.    What best methods have been shown to lead to the highest containment and elimination results (with regard to the virus)?\n8.    What support does the medical community need to deal with this pandemic?\n\n"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"Ethical"},{"insert":"\n1.    How are animals being used in testing for the virus? Is this use of animals justifiable given ethical codes of responsible treatment toward animals?\n2.    Are wealthy people affected differently from the poor, in terms of, for instance, how they are treated by the medical community when getting the virus?\n3.    Is the government giving the people hurt by this virus the support that a responsible and ethical government would provide?\n"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"Psychological"},{"insert":"\n1.    How likely are people to stay home and voluntarily isolate themselves through self –quarantine, and how will they deal with their overall mental well-being while doing so?\n2.    What types of people are able to better deal with the psychological hardships that come with a quarantine situation, than those who have greater difficulty dealing with hardships?\n3.    Why do people tend to panic in situations like this, and how can people keep from panicking?\n\n"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"Sociological"},{"insert":"\n1.    What are the important social implications embedded in the cluster of problems we’re facing?\n2.    How will people effectively deal with their innate needs for social interaction and social connection while being self-quarantined or quarantined?\n3.    What positive social characteristics and implications emerge, if any, during a crisis such as the one we’re going through?\n\n"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"Political"},{"insert":"\n1.    How is the political establishment dealing with the problem overall in terms of effectiveness in combatting the virus across the country?\n2.    To what degree are politicians acting in their own interests, rather than the interests of the public?\n3.    Are politicians hiding anything behind the words they say?\n4.    What political barriers do we face in dealing with this complex problem?\n5.    What role should the government play during a crisis such as this, in terms of responsibilities, to the people?\n6.    What economic responsibilities does the government have to the people at a time like this?\n\n"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"Economic"},{"insert":"\n1.    How can we make sure that people who are sick with this virus are able to stay home without being penalized economically? (how can we do this over the long run for any illness employees have?)\n2.    How will people deal with the economic implications they face as result of this crisis (such as loss of a business, home, etc.)?\n3.    Will some people gain from this crisis, financially? If so, who?\n\n"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":"Legal"},{"insert":"\n1.    What legal barriers do we face in dealing with this complex problem?\n2.    What laws are getting in the way of combatting the spread of the virus? How can we cut through the red tape that stands in the way of dealing with the problem?\n\nYou will note, in reading through these questions, that many of them are general, and can be applied to other, complex problems. People typically don’t realize that thinking is driven by questions. The better your questions, the better your thinking will be, if you have the skills to think responsibly through the questions, once they are articulated.\n\nWhen dealing with difficult problems, worst case scenarios usually occur when thinking is allowed to run in all manner of directions, without focus on the most significant information, and the most likely scenarios. These problems are exacerbated when efforts are not coordinated and vest-interest rears its ugly head (as is per usual when politics hovers).\n\nHow many of these questions are we explicitly addressing now, and which are we ignoring? This is the question that likely determines how soon we escape from this most recent pandemic.\n\nWhat questions and domains of thought would you add to this list?\n\nIn terms of answering these questions, each of us must do so for ourselves, given the best information available – focusing on the questions relevant to us, including those we have some control over or influence within. Many of these questions must be answered by medical experts, some by politicians, others by psychologists, and so forth. It is up to professionals to develop the questions within their domains relevant to the main question, as well as to be aware of the other domain-specific questions in order to take into account their interrelationships. Only then will the best thinking, the highest level critical thinking, be done.\n\nHere are two reliable sources of information for understanding the virus:\n\nThe World Health Organization:\  \n\n\nCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)\n"},{"attributes":{"color":"purple","link":""},"insert":""},{"insert":"\n\nWhat other sources of information can you add?\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n"}]}

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Posted by: Lisa Sabend

{"ops":[{"insert":"Thank you for an informative post! This all makes perfect sense to me. It seems we (USA) are making progress day by day in learning the answers to some of these questions. It also seems like there is still a lot of uncertainty about the actual numbers and the virus itself, these are the questions that still need to be answered, or answered in a more detailed way to provide true clarity. My questions are: Do the medical experts and our government know more about the virus than they are sharing with the public? Or, do they really just not know that much about this virus yet? This is the unknown that has created the uncertainty we all feel, and fear surrounding the entire situation.\n"}]}

Posted by: Joseph Halter

{"ops":[{"insert":"The medical experts and government have had different points of views on this health issue and seems recently it is more consistent.\nThe federal government failed to take the intelligence information seriously in January, it is now but the spread is global. Just looked at the CDC site and they are updating their information as they learn more about the virus. In my opinion, the CDC, who are the medical experts did not have a system in place for the seriousness and scale this virus has presented. Tests, ventilators, masks, medical supplies, etc are in short supply. Thus, the \"flattening of the curve\" is now needed.\nI am hopeful both are working in tangent to mitigate this health and economic crisis.\n\nPS. I do not want to get into the \"blame game\", we need to rapidly move forward with appropriate and adequate medical supplies and a vaccination.\n"}]}

Posted by: Joseph Halter

{"ops":[{"insert":"Great outline of the pandemic, Linda!\nThe questions are well stated for each discipline or point of view.\nI think this post should be the most important one for our community since it is a real issue for critical thinking, not theory, etc.\nI truly believe the Community for Critical Thinking can be part of the solution for this problem and future ones. It would be super if the Elder/Paul model for critical thinking be tested on this global issue. Having different points of views, information and concepts from the global community on what are some inferences, conclusions and implications that would be part of the process of answering the questions raised and new ones for discovery and implementation.\nThis pandemic should be a paramount motivator for all of us to work together using critical thinking for a real global crisis.\nFootnote: A high school student is doing his part on the Corona Virus by creating a"},{"attributes":{"link":""},"insert":" website "},{"insert":"for updated information.\nAddendum #1 Questions\nEconomic\nHow can the countries, businesses and individuals reallocate resources now to mitigate the pandemic?\nHow can we accelerate the use of technology and medical science to discover new vaccinations? What incentives are needed?\nWhat are the risk/rewards for accelerating new medical experimentation?\nAddendum#2 Comparison on Corona Virus\nA recent article, "},{"attributes":{"link":""},"insert":"\"That's totally way out there\" "},{"insert":"shows how faulty comparisons can be made.\nAddendum#3 Assumptions and Implications\nThe Center for Critical Thinking Community Online is a new feature by the Foundation and I am pleased to be a part of it. It creates an avenue for the powerful potential of critical thinking people. The current pandemic fosters a greater reliance on this forum. This week it was announced that the 40th International Conference was postpone and will be scheduled later and will be virtual due in part to the pandemic.\nI read "},{"attributes":{"link":""},"insert":"Coronavirus will change the world permanently: Here's How"},{"insert":", it offers many assumptions and implications on this major event in 2020. I hope we, the Community and the Foundation will be proactive and develop the virtual tools to help us play a more active role in our dialogue on this site.\nAddendum#4 Great site for sources of information from many points of views. "},{"attributes":{"link":""},"insert":"World Economic Forum"},{"insert":"\n"}]}


{"ops":[{"insert":"Is the United States actually a Democratic Republic? How are the \"Executive Orders\" imposed by the Governors of respective States imposing upon the Constitution Rights of Americans? Ever since 9/11, it appears that government's answer to a nationwide crisis is to \"suspend\" aspects of the constitution (e.g., the Patriot Act; the present shut-down of the U.S. economy accompanied by \"stay-at-home 'orders'\").\n\nI also wonder, if the United States has been preparing for bio terrorism, why does our government seem so perplexed with the problems arising from the crisis?\n\nHas the government conducted a \"cost-benefit\" analysis relevant to the numbers contracting the disease--and possibly dying--in comparison to the implications associated with massive job loss. Again, another example of lack of empathy withing the human mind.\n"}]}

Posted by: Joseph Halter

{"ops":[{"insert":"Just read this article by "},{"attributes":{"bold":true,"link":""},"insert":"A Plan to Get America Back to Work"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":" by Thomas Friedman. "},{"insert":"\nIt provides a measured approach to the health and economic issue of the corona virus and the cost benefit of both point of views are stated clearly.\n\nAddendum: Found this article that elaborates on trade-offs and costs and benefits of the virus: "},{"attributes":{"link":""},"insert":""},{"insert":"\n\nAddendum: 2 Great quote: “The choice is not between health and economics but about optimizing the public health response to save lives while minimizing economic harm.” "},{"attributes":{"link":""},"insert":"NYTimes"},{"insert":"\n"}]}