Your Cystic Fibrosis Experience Will be Enormously Valuable in the Post-Pandemic World

We are infection control experts. Don’t miss your opportunity to take a leadership position in your community as people start to adjust to the new normal.

Yesterday I listened to Dr. Antony Fauci – the man who is proving to be our national hero when we need one – in an interview on the Wall Street Journal’s daily podcast. He spoke about what our new normal may look like, so it got me thinking…

The post coronavirus world is going to be a weird one. Handshakes will be a thing of the past. Flying and mass transit will be done among a sea of face coverings or masks. Remote Access to work, care, school and social events will be even more commonplace as the days go on.

In the absence of a vaccine, mass gatherings will be approached with some apprehension. After the vaccine comes, we will reminisce about the days before, before it all happened. We will carry on life in an infection conscious world.

Connecting via the virtual world will initially feel awkward, and it may be clunky, but it will be it will be a world we know all too well.

The post-coronavirus world is going to be a weird one for everyone except those of us with cystic fibrosis. Why? We already live in it.

How many times have you been in the weird situation where someone goes to shake your hand at a big event in the heart of flu season only to say, “Ah.. I’m sorry, I don’t shake hands.”

How many times have you said to your supervisor at work or the administration at school, “I am starting antibiotics next week, can I work from home?”

Or what about the times when you have gotten all those strange looks for wearing a mask in the airport?

I cannot say each time I have confronted one of these situation I have skated through without issue. Often times they are uncomfortable and sometimes unwelcome. Those experiences, though, are what will make us uniquely qualified to lead in the post-pandemic era. We know how to advocate for our personal safety and wellbeing of the broader community. We have been taught and, in most cases, perfected the exact behaviors that will be asked of the public in a time after the pandemic.

We cannot be afraid to use our voices to urge our neighbors, coworkers and classmates to embrace the new no touch world. As Dr. Fauci said on the Journal’s podcast, we may soon live in a world where flu infections decrease as a byproduct of ceasing handshakes. I think that’s an awesome benefit.

Maybe the irony in all of this is that these are things we’ve been demanding for a long, long time. You know… hoping people stay home when they’re sick and working to keep the rest of the population healthy. My biggest hope for the post-pandemic normal is for our policymakers, business leaders and academic administrators to institute policies that encourage (and incentivize) stay home from work or school when an illness is spreading. That very topic was on CNBC yesterday… somehow it feels like common sense for us, but I guess it isn’t for everyone else.

Once this is all over or even as we start to reintroduce some normalcy in our lives, I am hopeful that we will not shy away from leading our communities into this new way of life. It will be a tremendous opportunity for us… we just have to take it.

Image: Photo by Ani Kolleshi on Unsplash