The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the fragility of our world. So many lives are being lost and immense suffering spreads across the planet. None are spared the potential of serious illness, although the risk is greater with increased age, more comorbidities and, based on early data, in men.

With finite testing and supplies, American health care risks being completely swamped. “Flattening the curve” is best medicine. People are encouraged to hunker down, practice hand and face hygiene, and socially distance.

Markets and economies are crashing. Businesses are shuttered and threatened. People are unable to meet their financial obligations. This crisis has markedly increased stress.

However, solving COVID-19 requires calmness, determination and collaboration, nationally and globally. This situation exemplifies the interdependence and interconnectedness of all people in a global community.

The solutions are achievable with common purpose. Public health, population health, global health, mutual concern and big governmental intervention suddenly gain importance. Our communities cannot survive with an excessively individualistic and selfish mindset. Wishing the best for our neighbors means health and safety for us. Despite physical isolation, emotional interconnectedness is necessary. We must understand the importance of ending tribalism and working together to empathetically solve such larger problems.

Health care facilities in remote or developing countries will impact the transmission of this virus everywhere. As the virus circulates throughout the world, building up the global health care infrastructure suddenly matters to us. Universal responsibility gains preeminence.

COVID-19 serves as a lesson to live with compassion, connection, universal responsibility, science, resolve, determination and an ethic of mutual service.

Ajay Marwaha, M.D.

East Lampeter Township